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Charting a path toward more sustainable transportation

Award-winning

EV charging experience powered by lakehouse architecture

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Network uptime ensures industry-leading station reliability

Fastned
CLOUD: AWS

“Databricks Data Intelligence Platform provides the insights we need that are helping to accelerate the expansion of our charging network, and create better driving experiences that can overcome the remaining barriers to EV adoption across the UK and Europe.”

– Yannick Schuermans, Director of Operations and Analytics at Fastned

The mass adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) has finally hit the tipping point, but for many drivers, one obstacle remains in the way: the availability of high-performance charging stations. Fastned, a forerunner in the technology of fast charging, started out with a small footprint of charging stations before the industry took root and expanded on a large scale. Over the last few years, its business has been propelled by huge leaps in the EV industry. And with it, the size of Fastned’s data has grown exponentially. The company needed to migrate away from its legacy system, Redshift, which was resource-intensive to scale and expensive for democratizing insights across its teams. With the Databricks Data Intelligence Platform, Fastned has a unified view into all its data — all charger-generated data, maintenance intervention, customer support and app usage data, as well as third-party data such as traffic trends — and a common platform for all employees to tap into insights collected from its charging stations and unlock innovations designed to drive EV adoption.

Scaling a data architecture at the pace of the industry

Fastned is a pioneer in the deployment of fast-charging infrastructure for EVs. As early as 2012, the company began deploying its charging stations across the Netherlands to serve the energy needs of the emerging EV market. With the data captured by its charging infrastructure, it scaled to support the rising demand and by 2022 grew its network to include more than 225 stations offering over 1,100 chargers throughout the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Through this expansion, Fastned was faced with the pressures of building more charging stations and ensuring a continued superior user experience, but those developments became increasingly challenging to deliver with its existing tech stack.

Fastned
Fastned charging station.

Fastned has always offered superior customer service across its European charging network, but given a growing wave of popularity in the electric mobility market, the company wanted to proactively prepare to meet rising demand without compromising quality of service. Fastned’s data team quickly realized that with an increase in data collection points across its network, the legacy AWS Redshift data warehouse would not be able to meet its growing needs. And while Tableau was being leveraged to deliver insights, wide-scale analytics was hindered by high costs. “As we scaled, we wanted to get our hands on streaming data from chargers for near real-time insights, but were unable to deliver on that with our old infrastructure,” said Bruna Maia, Data and Insights Manager at Fastned. “And when we could harness our data, democratizing this information through Tableau was cost prohibitive.”

Because access to cost-effective and reliable data sat at the heart of its business transformation, Fastned decided to look at alternatives beyond its legacy data infrastructure — opening the door for a new data platform that would continue to support its growth and its position as a leader in the flourishing EV-charger industry.

Driving innovation with streaming analytics and data democratization

With the need to support the rapid expansion of its charging network, Fastned turned to the Databricks Data Intelligence Platform. Key to its decision to migrate from Redshift was the ability to easily access various data sources, ingest streaming data generated by its charging stations, and have a unified view of all its data readily available in a single source of truth.

With data centralized in the lakehouse, Fastned uses Databricks SQL to democratize insights so that all teams can create their own dashboards and start leveraging data to help move the business forward.

The data team is now able to analyze charger utilization data within days. “With Databricks, we have been able to structure streaming pipelines and create better standards regarding our data engineering,” said Maia. “We can now ensure network uptime at a higher scale.”

Fastned
Fastned uses Databricks Data Intelligence Platform to give people the freedom to switch to electric vehicles with its network of fast charging stations powered by clean energy.

Databricks has democratized the use of data throughout the entire organization. “Now we see that data is being used by our customer operations and commercial teams, as well as our investor relations and finance teams. That just wasn’t possible with our previous infrastructure,” said Yannick Schuermans, Fastned’s Director of Operations, Data and Analytics. With Databricks behind its evolution to becoming a future-forward organization, Fastned is primed to be a driving force in the world of electric mobility.

Laying the groundwork for a more sustainable future

Fastned is witnessing the potential of data to help drive its mission of giving freedom to electric vehicle drivers and accelerate the transition to sustainable mobility. Since adopting Databricks Data Intelligence Platform, it has tripled its data capacity in a matter of months. This rise in data has contributed to its ability to quickly expand its network from 120 to more than 225 fast charging stations – and growing.

“The lakehouse gives us the tools to plan for the future by helping us do analytics and machine learning at scale and in an automated way,” said Schuermans. “A cloud data warehouse would have fallen short in meeting our goal of providing tens of thousands of chargers to EV drivers.”

In the EV charging industry, Fastned has built a reputation for reliability and Databricks has played a tangible role in that achievement. Per Maia, “People can come to Fastned and they can bank on us. We see that in our uptime numbers compared to the rest of the industry. So, we’re significantly better than any competitor out there in terms of reliability. That is partly enabled by Databricks and our ability to detect issues and act on them quickly.”

With Europe planning to completely transition to EVs by 2035, Fastned will be uniquely positioned to meet this explosive growth in EV adoption and to scale its operations to provide drivers with the freedom to go electric anytime, anywhere.