well connected

The Business That Knows How To Plug In

In einem Elektroauto sitzt der Gesellschafter der Mennekes-Gruppe, Walter Mennekes am 19.09.2012 in Neudorf. Das Unternehmen baut seinen Standort im Erzgebirge weiter aus. So wurde jetzt ein neues Hochregallager für drei Millionen Euro in Betrieb genommen. Foto: Hendrik Schmidt dpa [ Rechtehinweis: (c) dpa ]
Plugging a gap: Walter Mennekes invented the plug that connects electric cars with chargers.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    With the auto industry increasingly focusing on electric cars, the family firm that patented the plug cars use to power up, looks likely to double their business in the next few years.

  • Facts


    • Engineer and business owner Walter Mennekes invented the Type 2 or the Mennekes plug, an adaptor that connects electric cars to a charger. In Germany, it is predicted that there will be 1 million e-vehicles on the roads by 2020.
    • Mennekes Plugs employs around 1,000 staff. The company has total revenue of €140 million, with the electric car plug accounting for about €20 million of that.
    • In 1995, Mennekes Plugs expanded into China, with two sites in Nanjing. Over half of the company’s revenue is now generated there. Mennekes Plugs also has a production site in the U.S.
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Walter Mennekes’ desk is huge. It’s big because he needs a lot of space for the many small, large and medium-sized plugs that he keeps lying around, for inspiration’s sake. Because that is his job: To develop the right connection for each and every plug. Mr. Mennekes, grandson of an electrician, heads the company, Mennekes Plugs, based in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Their motto is “plugs for the world” and clients include the auto industry, airlines, power plants and the military.

“Plugs, that’s us,” as Mr. Mennekes himself says.

His biggest coup to date had been the invention of the adapter that connects electric cars to a charger, a cardinal piece of technology in electricity-powered driving that is now happening on roads all over Europe.

Mr. Mennekes has acquired a reputation for ingenuity and, thanks to the plug he invented, known as the Type 2 or the Mennekes plug, he and his family firm look to gain much from the auto industry’s desires to grow the electric car market.

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