Webasto Acquiring AeroVironment EV Charging Business

JUN 21 2018 BY MARK KANE 8

AeroVironment, one of the early players in EV charging in the U.S., decided to sell its Efficient Energy Systems (EES) unit, which includes charging products so that it can focus on its main business.

Level-2 Webasto EV Charging Station in use

EES will be acquired by the Webasto Group, which is a major supplier to automotive OEMs and came to the EV party late.

Read Also – AeroVironment Shows Off New TurboDX Charger At CES

According to AeroVironment, the company identified a number of potential strategic acquirers for the EES and Webasto’s E-mobility strategy was found to be highly aligned with that of EES, so all of the jobs will be retained.

The acquisition was valued at $35 million.

“Webasto Group, one of the 100 leading suppliers to the automotive industry worldwide, and AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV), a leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for both defense and commercial applications and tactical missile systems (TMS), announced Webasto’s agreement to acquire AeroVironment’s Efficient Energy Systems (EES) business segment for $35 million, subject to customary post-closing adjustments and indemnification agreements. Webasto will retain all existing EES employees, while strengthening its longterm E-mobility strategy.”

“Webasto’s acquisition of AeroVironment’s EES business segment contributes to the company’s dual strategy. With this strategy Webasto strengthens its existing core business areas in Sunroofs, Convertibles and Thermo Systems and participate in new business areas, focusing on battery systems and plug-in electric vehicle charging solutions.”

Holger Engelmann, chairman of the management board, Webasto SE said:

“This strategic acquisition accelerates the global development of our charging business. Combining EES’ fundamental know-how in electric vehicle technology with our position as a global systems partner to almost all OEMs emphasizes the long-term strategic development of the Webasto Group,” added Engelmann. E-mobility customers among others will profit from the automotive supplier’s global experience in system integration and understanding the requirements of the automotive industry.

Wahid Nawabi, AeroVironment chief executive officer said:

“We conducted a very robust process in which we identified a number of potential strategic acquirers for our EES business. We found Webasto’s E-mobility strategy to be highly aligned with that of EES, and our respective capabilities to be highly complementary serving our end markets. Our strategic divestiture of EES helps AeroVironment focus on our leading small UAS, Tactical Missile Systems, High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellite, and Commercial Information Solutions businesses, each of which represents significant investment and long-term growth potential.”

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8 Comments on "Webasto Acquiring AeroVironment EV Charging Business"

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Smart move. They had lots of competition in the EVSE space.

I really hope that the new company takes the West Coast Electric Highway seriously, and upgrades and maintains the chargers. It’s a great network and allows easy EV travel through Oregon and Washington, but AeroVironment has really neglected it for the last few years. Worst of all, most of the CHAdeMO chargers are not compatible with the new Leaf! They won’t even provide a list of which chargers will work and which won’t, so there’s a crowd-sourced effort to figure it out: https://drive.google.com/open?id=13ULeC8fCVvCXn5btWTDIxsu2295n8NoJ&usp=sharing
As you can see from the map, most of the chargers along high-traffic corridors do NOT work, so it is currently much easier to travel along I-5 with a 2017 Leaf (or even earlier!) than the new model with greater range.

There seems to be occasional trouble with the link. If it doesn’t work, try this: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=13ULeC8fCVvCXn5btWTDIxsu2295n8NoJ&hl=en&usp=sharing

And please upgrade them to CCS!

You can hope, but I doubt they are going to upgrade them to CCS. The good news is that in Washington state the build out has started again. This time the stations will be have both standards.

https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/8FB1659C-45B4-4423-8EAB-6F659DB9A790/0/WCEH_EVIPP_Map_Web.pdf

I didn’t know the 2018 Leaf’s CHAdeMO was not backwards compatible. Is there more to find out about this?

At this point neither Nissan or AeroVironment have been at all forthcoming about what’s wrong. They will admit that there is a problem, which Nissan calls a “software incompatibility.” What drivers of the new Leaf have noticed is that all of the AeroVironment chargers that have had their charging connectors upgraded in the last ~2 years or so don’t work, while the ones with the older connectors work fine. There has been a report of a similar issue with some different chargers in Canada, but I don’t know much about that.

… and within an hour of posting that there was no timeline for a fix, AeroVironment has finally started upgrading all of the chargers in Oregon and Washington, and stated that all should be working by the end of July.