Throughout your career, you’ve worked across diverse technological fields. How does your background in computer science influence your work at TRATON Charging Solutions?

I possess a strong interest in the interconnected nature of our world and how everything is linked in a digital landscape. TRATON Charging Solutions is about connecting customers and their trucks with charging infrastructure, combining hardware and software, and passing both electricity and transactions through our service platform. For this, the team I lead encompasses a range of specialists in the electric vehicle charging space, financial services, technology, and operations. Here, I aim to bridge the gap between different specialties, ensuring everyone comprehends their role and its connection to the broader team objectives. This is fundamental for a cohesive team driving toward shared goals, particularly in a digital context where everything must connect on a technical basis.

As a newly established service entity within the TRATON GROUP, could you describe the role and function of TRATON Charging Solutions?

The TRATON GROUP established TRATON Charging Solutions one year ago to facilitate the transition of fleets to battery electric commercial vehicles.

TRATON Charging Solutions was born out of an idea from Scania. Rather than developing it on their own, the idea was to develop a Group-wide service entity for all TRATON brands to use. It aims to streamline electric commercial transport by offering contracting, invoicing, charging capabilities, and utilization insights for seamless charging experiences. On top of this, the goal is to deliver a best-in-class charging service.

Now, one year later, we enable Scania to provide customers access to an extensive charging network across 12 countries where we continuously validate locations for truck suitability. We’ve signed our first direct contract with Milence, one of the charge point operators (CPOs) we aim to connect to for best-in-class coverage. Furthermore, we’re engaged in ongoing discussions with more CPOs to expand the network and cover both the current and future needs of electric mobility. Our next big move is to onboard MAN fleet customers onto our services.

Why are customers not currently experiencing a seamless experience between charging networks and streamlined payment systems?

Up to now, we’ve seen how most passenger car electric vehicle drivers have had to work with multiple charging apps, which is impractical in the professional sphere. At TRATON Charging Solutions, we’re building a single backend service that our brands can bring to market where we have connections to key charging locations and CPOs regardless of brand. This means that drivers won't have to switch between different services and apps or be limited to one or two branded charging locations, but can drive anywhere they want, seamlessly.

When it comes to payment systems, we will see significant developments here beyond the apps. America is already further ahead on credit card payments, for example. This is now also coming to Europe. Businesses require a setup where the manager connects and their drivers have access to a shared account. This process is more structured and involves invoices being sent directly to managers. Over time, a more professional structure will be implemented in all markets including America. These approaches, that are simultaneously simpler and more sophisticated, are required to suit everyone.

How is TRATON Charging Solutions attempting to change this? What benefits will it offer customers?

Our service aims to connect drivers to a wide range of charging locations and CPOs. This approach will enable them to stop anywhere they need to while traveling to their destination.

Currently, there are many layers, with different companies responsible for the vehicles, charging locations, and connected services. With TRATON Charging Solutions, both charging, and payments are handled in a structured way, with a single monthly bill invoiced to the drivers’ managers, regardless of the brand of the vehicle.

Can you explain how TRATON Charging Solutions facilitates multi-brand fleets, including brands outside the TRATON GROUP, to access its charging network?

The solution capabilities are accessible to all brands, even beyond the TRATON GROUP, making it the perfect fit for multi-branded fleets. TRATON Charging Solutions’ services are not vehicle-specific and are based on charging outlet standards.

To authorize it, customers must currently use an RFID card (more sophisticated approaches to this, like, plug and charge, are to come). Other than that, our only requirement is that at least one Scania or MAN truck is part of a customer’s fleet.

Can you clarify the interplay or association between TRATON Charging Solutions and the joint venture Milence, which has received investments from TRATON GROUP, Daimler Truck, and Volvo Trucks?

Milence is a great starting point for us, and it is encouraging that this joint venture is planning to build 1,700 charging stations across Europe in the coming years. Like any branded CPO, our users will be able to access Milence stations as they become available. However, TRATON Charging Solutions is already a part of a roaming network that covers a range of other CPOs and can offer our services in 12 countries so far. We’re planning to add five more European countries before the end of 2024 and expand to cover the rest of the EU by 2025. Overall, we will offer thousands of additional charging stations alongside those of Milence in all countries where we are active.

Could you elaborate on how TRATON Charging Solutions collaborates with industry partners to develop scalable and trusted technology solutions for the transition of fleets to commercial BEVs?

One of TRATON’s priorities is to open up to new partnerships and collaborate more with external suppliers, as well as opening up the vehicle ecosystem to develop new business opportunities. Here, TRATON Charging Solutions can play a crucial role.

Being part of an ecosystem that depends on many stakeholders and as a sizable OEM, we aim to drive standards by collaborating with other market players, particularly regarding booking capabilities and data structures. Currently, the data passed between charging stations and MSP (Managed Service Provider) services is more relevant for passenger cars, so going forward, we want to see truck-related data emerging from these charging locations. We’re participating in networks where we look at how we can optimize such truck-adapted point of interest (POI) data.

What advice would you offer to young women aspiring to pursue leadership roles within the transportation sector?

Over the course of my career, I’ve learned that you can utilize your skills and approaches across a range of markets and sectors. I’m proud that I have established myself in various industries by developing different strategies, as well as building teams and digital services.

Now that I’m working at TRATON, I want to inspire women working here. As I’m still quite new to the transportation sector, my advice is more general. I think it’s really important to honor knowledge. You need to develop an understanding of the topics you intend to talk about by learning as much as you can. I’ve found this has helped me a lot during my career.

And to go back to where we started this conversation, it’s important that everyone around you sits on parts of that knowledge, so do think of developing your ways of listening to everyone around you, not only other managers. And remember to stay that way regardless of where you end up. Also, as managers, it’s important that we recognize that we grow the next generation of leaders; thereby, it’s vital to ensure that you develop your leadership abilities and, at some point, start to build others and not only yourself. At the same time, if you stop developing, those working for you won’t develop either, so stay curious and open-minded.