The number of electric vehicle (EV) drivers on the road today is growing faster than anticipated. EV sales in 2022 accounted for roughly 10% of the global auto market, with the 7.8 million EVs sold worldwide, representing a 68% increase over 2021. Having more EV makers, models, and price points to choose from helped broaden consumer interest in EVs and advancing progress to cleaner transportation. The EV charging industry plays a critical role in keeping this e-mobility momentum going. Here are the five most important things that EV drivers want in 2023 from EV charging network providers. Meeting these needs will go a long way toward building consumer confidence in electric vehicles, driving EV adoption, and increasing demand for EV charging.
1. Maximum EV charger reliability and stability
When EV drivers pull into an EV charging location, especially when they have to go out of their way to get there, they expect the chargers to be working and available, without long waits. Anecdotal reports, academic research and consumer surveys say that up to 27% of the time, that’s not the case. Problems range from communications issues between the car and the charger to broken chargers and poor design of cables and connectors. Increasingly, funding authorities and governments are requiring 99% reliability from EV charging providers. Getting there will take workforce development, more reliable hardware, and software platforms that can monitor, diagnose, and fix charger problems remotely.
2. A seamless EV charging experience
Beyond the basic requirement for reliable EV charging facilities, drivers want a seamless and simple charging experience, regardless of who the public charging station operator is. The expectation is that charging an EV should be as simple as fueling an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. For EV charging network operators, that means enabling an EV driver to use a mobile app and a single method of authentication and payment to charge at any publicly available charging station.
This is possible today through support for either Autocharge or Plug & Charge technology, both of which allow the driver to plug in and begin charging after a one-time registration with a network provider. The technology works for all chargers within a network and relies on eRoaming relationships to extend the seamless experience to chargers on other provider networks.
EV charging network operators can enhance the seamless experience with programs and features for their EV drivers, including transparent and easy-to-understand pricing, loyalty programs that offer rewards for charging within network, coupons for nearby stores or restaurants, and the ability to locate and reserve a charger.
3. Rapid and even expansion of the EV charging infrastructure
Whether it’s real or perceived, “range anxiety” remains a significant obstacle to EV adoption. Even though most EV charging is done at home or work, and most drivers average 30 to 40 miles per day, drivers want the ability to take long trips and drive anywhere without fear of running out of power.
That’s why EV drivers want rapid expansion of the EV charging infrastructure, and they want that expansion to cover multiple driver use cases. To feel comfortable traveling in an EV, drivers want ultra-fast chargers evenly distributed along highways where they can plan charging stops, make reservations, and charge quickly. EV charging infrastructure in destinations like shopping malls and restaurants, where drivers can “top off”, or commercial and industrial facilities where drivers can charge at work, is essential.
4. Smart EV charging to hold the line on costs
Smart EV charging provides the ability to control the charging process and, in turn, control the cost of charging. Smart EV charging capabilities for home charging enable EV drivers to control when charging takes place so they can charge during low-demand hours, when energy is cheaper. For EV charging operators, smart EV charging can distribute power among the charge points within an EV charging location to prevent the total power draw from exceeding peak limits and incurring costly surcharges. This enables energy requirements for charging to be met without placing undue demands on the grid, eliminating the need to increase capacity that is paid for by increasing energy costs.
5.“Green” EV charging that uses renewable and sustainable energy sources
A cleaner environment is the ultimate promise of electric vehicles, and a key reason why people make the switch to EVs. However, the promise can only come true when renewable energy is used for EV charging. EV charging network providers can use power purchase agreements with utilities to ensure that their chargers are powered only by renewable energy. EVgo in the U.S. and Mer in Europe are examples of EV charging companies committed to using renewable energy.
There are other steps EV charging operators can take to stay “green.” One is to use onsite solar panels to supplement green energy from the grid. Another is to use local storage at EV charging facilities to store renewably sourced energy onsite for use at peak times. Driivz’s smart energy management software makes this possible.
While the EV charging industry will directly benefit from growth in the numbers of EVs on the road, the industry is also a key contributor to making EV adoption more attractive. The Driivz smart EV charging and energy management software platform provides the advanced technology and scalability the industry needs to grow the infrastructure while providing a seamless charging experience.