Three Essential Ingredients for EV Charging Payment Simplicity
EV drivers want the EV charging experience to be simple and seamless. Although 80% of charging is done at home and at work, EV drivers have high expectations for when they travel. They want to easily find a charger, plug in, pay, and drive away, using a single unified tool—preferably a single EV driver app that lets them charge and pay anytime, anywhere, on any network, in any country.
It sounds easy—that’s what the fueling experience is like for ICE drivers—but in reality, it’s not. There is a lot of complexity behind the scenes to make this seamless experience happen. For charge point operators (CPOs) and eMobility service providers, your ability to deliver that seamless EV charging and payment experience will depend on three complex, essential ingredients—mobile EV driver app technology, EV roaming, and support for Plug & Charge technology—delivered by EV charging management software.
Here’s what to look for when you are evaluating EV smart charging management solutions. These capabilities are also a plus for network operators forging partnerships with site hosts.
1. An intuitive “white label” EV driver app that integrates multiple tools
The first necessary ingredient is an intuitive mobile app (plus “matching” web portal) that works in the same way as the commercial mobile apps we use in our everyday lives. Customized with your branding, it empowers the EV driver with full visibility and control of all EV charging aspects. This includes real-time personalized information about charger locations and availability, billing plans, transactions, and payments.
Drivers go through a one-time subscription process and then just swipe the app each time they need to charge. Payments will then be automatically processed by your back-end billing and payments management system. That system must support complex business models, pricing, revenue sharing, and charging scenarios. The payment system should also accept credit cards, which the driver provides at the time of the one-time subscription registration, and support multiple payment gateways.
2. Support for EV roaming plus your established e-roaming business relationships
The concept of e-roaming, or EV roaming, is very similar to roaming in the cellular telecommunications industry. Cell phone users can place calls wherever they are, even if their “home” network provider does not offer service in that location. Connections are made transparently to the caller, and the multiple network providers reconcile the service charges behind the scene.
EV charging roaming works the same way to deliver a true “charge anywhere” experience. EV owners can charge on the road, across brands, regions, and even national borders and currencies, using a participating “away” provider’s EV charging facilities. The charging transaction is then integrated into the driver’s monthly invoice by way of your back-office EV billing software.
This is a win-win for CPOs and eMobility service providers, because it means that choosing your branded EV charging network offers the flexibility that consumers want in EV charging.
Although appearing seamless to consumers, delivering EV roaming services is profoundly complex. It requires that you negotiate service and clearing agreements with other EV charging service providers and select an infrastructure provider, such as Hubject, GIREVE, or e-clearing.net, to execute those agreements. EV roaming also requires that the EV charging management solution you select supports those roaming platforms OR supports OCPI 2.2.1– the Open Charge Point Interface protocol for point-to-point communications.
3. Support for Plug & Charge technology
An innovative technology, Plug & Charge is the simplest, most secure way for drivers to charge their electric vehicles. All drivers need to do is connect their EV charging cable to the charge point, and the vehicle is automatically charged—without the driver having to use a credit card, present an RFID tag, or use a mobile app.
When the vehicle is plugged it, it automatically identifies itself to the charger through an ISO 15118-compliant communications link. When recognized as an authorized vehicle, it is approved to receive energy for recharging, with the charging session seamlessly billed. The ISO 15118 standard ensures all this happens with encryption, decryption and two-way authentication.
Plug & Charge will still require a sign-up process with an EV charging provider, and it will also introduce additional complexity as car manufacturers play a significant role in making this innovation a reality. Although the technology has existed for a while, it must be supported by the charging equipment, the EV charging network’s management software, and optionally by the automobile manufacturer.
If this all sounds complicated, it is. The fast track to integrating these essential ingredients is to choose an EV smart charging management solution that does it for you. That frees you to focus on building a successful and profitable EV charging business.