New sector challenger will offer heat pumps on a monthly fee basis

Last month, Stockholm-based investment group Vargas announced its entry into the European heat pump market with Aira, a direct-to-consumer company offering heat pumps on a monthly fee basis.

Aira has ambition to become Europe's largest direct-to-consumer clean energy brand

Currently piloting in Italy, Aira will launch in Germany and the UK later this year.

With its stated mission ‘to empower people to join the clean energy revolution, one home at a time’ Aira is the fourth launch for holding company Vargas, having already founded Polarium, Northvolt and H2 Green Steel ‘to accelerate decarbonisation’.

Huge ambition

The latest venture has the ambition to become Europe’s number one direct-to-consumer clean energy tech brand with parent company Vargas targeting a presence in more than 20 markets by 2030, employing more than 10,000 clean energy experts and technicians.

The ambition is not insignificant and to back it up Aira has secured a production facility in Wroclaw, Poland. A former Volvo bus factory, the Volvo employees were all offered roles with the new company and production of Aira branded heat pumps is planned to start in 2024.

Unique vertical integration

Highlighting the unique vertical integration of the Aria model Martin Lewerth, newly appointed CEO comments: “Our direct-to-customer model will dramatically change how homes are heated.”

Taking the responsibility for the entire process from product to consumer, Aria will offer monthly subscriptions from as little as £75 with no upfront product or installation costs. The company also aims to deliver an improved customer journey by going from quote to installation within four weeks.

“We develop our own products and, as a direct consumer brand, we design our products with the end user in mind. We also design them for quick and simple installation and for large scale manufacturing.”

In addition to the new factory, Aira is also establishing its own salesforce “to provide consumers with a consistent high-quality experience.”

Identifying a target market of some 5 million homes across Europe needing “greener and cheaper” heating, Aira plans to “swiftly establish and grow its business to meet the booming demand” and considers widespread adoption of heat pumps to have been hindered by “high upfront costs, low awareness, and the absence of urgency” in the residential sector.

“We will make heat pumps affordable, cut energy bills and emissions,” Martin states.

There are no product details currently available on the Aira range and the pilot in Italy is using Vaillant heat pumps. With the factory in Poland not expected to commence production until 2024 it is uncertain what products will be used for the UK roll out.

Accelerating adoption

Harald Mix, chairman of Vargas and Aira, says: “We need bold business initiatives. By applying Vargas proven model of vertical integration and scale, Aira can offer consumer cost-savings as well as greener residential heating.

“The heat pump technology is widely adopted across Scandinavia. Aira’s offering, together with national regulations and subsidies, will accelerate adoption across Europe.”