With over 3 million Plug-in Electric Vehicles (EVs) on the roads today and this number growing exponentially, there is no longer doubt that EVs are the future. But this growth must be supported by a scalable, reliable, and robust charging infrastructure in order to be sustained.
Based on the U.S. Department of Energy Data, there are over 60,000 charging points in the United states alone, and as EV charging services quickly grow, EV Service Providers (EVSPs) are racing to install new stations and integrate these chargers with back office billing and customer management systems. EVSPs are therefore making large capital investments in charging infrastructure, which must be valid not only in the next couple of years, but also 3-5 years from now.
Moreover, to win in the dynamic EV market, EVSPs must think ahead and realize they are not simply playing a numbers game (i.e. installing as many charges as they can as fast as they can), but are competing in a customer service game. The key to success is ensuring that drivers can find working, available chargers nearby that are compatible with their EVs and accept their payment method of choice. By providing reliable, diverse EV charging options, top-notch EVSPs will be able to garner public trust, grow their customer base, improve profitability, and facilitate mass EV adoption.
Driver satisfaction is and will continue to be the game changer in the EV charging market. And the key to driver satisfaction is a robust, effective, and futureproof EV charging management platform that is tightly integrated with Web and mobile apps for drivers.
Implementing and maintaining a futureproof EV charging services network is a must but is no small feat considering not only the breadth of charger models, but the myriad of issues related to customer relationship management (CRM) and the multitude of pricing models, tariff structures, and billing options available. Enabling multiple payment options, charging speeds, and pricing plans adds yet another level of complexity. And finally, as opposed to the traditional combustion fuels market, EV charging must be balanced with the demands and constraints of the grid.
Still, EV charging network operators/EVSPs can cut through this complexity by understanding that their charging infrastructure must be powered by an effective EV charging management platform, and by future-proofing their network with a management platform with these 6 critical features:
Empower your customers. Save them the frustration of driving to an unconnected station only to find out that it’s occupied. Connect your stations to a communications network and offer drivers mobile-friendly tools for locating, paying for, and self-managing charging services on or off-network. Customers can then check the availability of stations, understand charging costs and speeds, make reservations, and report on issues in real-time.
Guarantee uninterrupted service to your customers. Problems can arise from user error, firmware updates across a multitude of charging station brands, connectivity issues from cellular and internet providers, and interfacing with roaming partners and other service providers. Minimize downtime and risk of revenue loss. Automated self-healing algorithms that detect and manage operational issues before they interrupt service also translate to lend to operational stability.
Ease customer payments and maximize revenue collection. A flexible platform allows you to create and manage a variety of payment options for subscribers and ad-hoc customers across multiple locations. A comprehensive and scalable billing system enables you to define a variety of driver plans while easily integrating with your back office. Moreover, a robust billing engine streamlines contract-based payment and payouts with multiple termination options, free units support, revenue sharing models, online/offline taxation support, and any other billing model you design.
Accommodate fast growth by integrating any charger model and supporting any EV. In addition to supporting a variety of charging models, make sure you’re always ready for the latest EV innovation. Automakers are continuing to develop electric and hybrid sedans, SUVs, trucks, and autonomous vehicles. They are quickly adopting advanced battery technologies to enhance vehicle charge speed, range, and performance. A platform that has tools to enable integration of any third-party system means you can be assured of your ability to support drivers of such new vehicles.
Understand what your customers need. Learn about your customers’ charging behavior – when, how fast, and how long – by collecting data from your connected stations. Governments have recognized the value of understanding customer preferences. A platform that nimbly crunches through millions of real-time data points can provide actionable insights for scheduling, maintenance, and new services for your customers.
Optimize charging for your customers by monitoring, managing, and adjusting power supplied by chargers depending on grid loads and driver preferences. According to a 2018 World Economic Forum report, “Smart charging will create more flexibility in the energy system, improving stability and optimizing peak-capacity investments.” By factoring in energy demand and grid constraints as well as the needs of the EV owner at a given time, EV network operators can choose to offer drivers reduced rates, monetary incentives, and other rewards in exchange for controlled charging. Futureproof your network with a platform that learns customer charging schedules and patterns and anticipates peak demand.
To become a leader in the EV charging market and protect current capital investment in costly charging infrastructure, EVSPs must ensure that their charging network is stable, scalable, and futureproof. A dependable EV charging management platform allows you to foster trust among customers while maximizing revenues. It should be stable and reliable, flexible and scalable, should support both current and future infrastructure, and minimize downtime. Convenience and ease-of-use – for EV owners and charging network operators alike – also means you can offer a superior user experience.