EV Leaders: Anja van Niersen, CEO of Milence

Anja van Niersen is CEO of Milence, which was established in July 2022 as a joint venture between Daimler Truck, TRATON GROUP, and the Volvo Group. By building a high-performance public charging network for heavy-duty trucks and coaches, Milence is dedicated to making the future of road transport fossil-free. 

Anja has been among the leaders in electromobility for more than a decade. In 2010, she started as a product manager at Alliander, one of the largest electrical infrastructure companies in the Netherlands. In 2013, Anja founded Allego, serving as Managing Director and then CEO until 2019, overseeing the company’s growth from start-up to leading EV charging provider with more than 25.000 charging points in 12 countries.  

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Could you share with us your journey into the world of EVs and what inspired you to become a part of the community?

My journey into the world of electric vehicles (EVs) began in the early 2010’s when we started the first EV project in Amsterdam as part of the energy transition projects within Alliander.  After many years in IT I was ready to transfer to the energy domain as the sector where innovation and new product development were most needed. I witnessed the growing urgency of addressing climate change and the need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. This realization, combined with my passion for innovation and sustainability, inspired me to become part of the Energy Transition community. Electric Vehicles and infrastructure and services were one of the first in this domain. After setting up Allego and transfering that to a new shareholder I saw the potential for electric trucks to make a significant impact in reducing emissions and improving air quality, which motivated me to lead a new company in this space.

Milence is described as more than just a charging network. Can you elaborate on Milence’s vision for the future of road transport and its commitment to fossil-free solutions?

Milence envisions fossil-free road transport. Our commitment is to provide comprehensive solutions for the entire ecosystem, which includes not only charging infrastructure but also a rest & recharge concept for truck drivers as well as using renewable energy sources We aim to create an integrated network that eliminates the reliance on fossil fuels, making transportation cleaner, more efficient, and sustainable for everyone.

What inspired the company’s mission to build and operate at least 1,700 high-performance public charge points in Europe by 2027?

Our mission to build and operate at least 1,700 high-performance public charge points in Europe by 2027 is driven by our belief in the urgency of the climate crisis. We recognize that the transition to electric heavy-duty vehicles requires a robust charging infrastructure, and we are committed to accelerating this transition by providing reliable and convenient charging solutions that can meet the growing demand for electric trucks.

How does Milence stay ahead in adopting cutting-edge innovations to pioneer and accelerate the future of zero-emission road transport? 

Milence is always at the forefront of the adoption of cutting-edge innovations, working with leading technology partners and experts in the field to identify and integrate the latest advances into our charging infrastructure. We are already leading the way in developing a Megawatt Charging System (MCS) prototype, which we showcased at the Solutrans Fair in Lyon earlier this year and are committed to pushing the boundaries of technology and improving the charging experience and efficiency for electric truck users.

Beyond the reduction of emissions from heavy-duty vehicles, how does Milence contribute to broader environmental sustainability goals?

In addition to reducing emissions from heavy-duty vehicles, Milence contributes to broader environmental sustainability goals in a number of ways. We prioritise the use of renewable energy sources to power our charging infrastructure, minimising the carbon footprint associated with charging. We also seek to use as many sustainable and low footprint materials as possible in the construction of our sites. From concrete to wood to water usage, everything is carefully considered. 

Looking ahead, what are the company’s long-term plans for facilitating the transition to zero-emission heavy-duty transport, and what role does Milence play in shaping the future of the industry?

Milence’s long-term plans include expanding our charging infrastructure across Europe to become the largest network, while supporting the electrification of heavy-duty transport in Europe. However, we recognise that we cannot do this alone, no one can, which is why we want to work with governments, industry stakeholders and other organisations to promote and support the transition to electrification. A whole new ecosystem needs to be created to make this happen, because to be successful we need to make it economically viable. We see Milence as a catalyst for change in the industry, bringing together all the different stakeholders, from OEMs to fleet operators and public authorities, to ensure a sustainable and fossil-free future for road transport.

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