Solving EV Problems #3: EV Roaming – The Key to Scaling Up Your Network
Demand for EV charging infrastructure is only going to increase and complexify, so if you want to expand your network and maintain your market-leading position you’ll need to think outside network and state borders. You’ve guessed it – we’re going to talk about roaming.
What is roaming? (And do you need it?)
We are all familiar with mobile phone roaming. When travelling abroad, your mobile automatically connects to an external network without you needing to buy a new contract. Roaming for EV charging works similarly, allowing drivers to use charging stations belonging to different networks with a single account, both nationally and internationally.
Roaming is made possible through agreements between service providers and enabled via their EV charging management platform of choice. This feature gives drivers the possibility to locate, book and use a charging point wherever and whenever they need.
Roaming also relieves concerns of autonomy and range anxiety for EV users, which are still major drawbacks stopping drivers from switching to EVs. Moreover, it improves the overall user experience for EV drivers by securing more consistent service levels and easier billing management.
Roaming agreements are still rare within the EV industry, and dependable on charging operators’ willingness to sign interoperability agreements. However, industry bodies and governments are increasingly calling on EV charging companies to sign partnerships that will improve the user experience for drivers and ultimately encourage faster adoption of EVs. In the UK, the Renewable Energy Association released a report earlier this year arguing that the EV industry as a whole needs to make interoperability of different charging networks a top priority.
Sharing the (EV Charging) pie
Ultimately, improving drivers’ experience should always be your top priority; but roaming will also prove beneficial for your business. In the long run, being able to offer a single interface across multiple states or countries will make you stand out from the crowd, and will increase customer retention, thanks to an improved user experience, while growing the number of new drivers using your network.
As you open your network to your competitors, you will also gain access to theirs. This means that you’ll be more likely to attract new customers to your charging stations, whether private owners or belonging to a professional fleet. The increased use of chargers will also monetize your network quicker, with a faster return on investment for CPOs.
Once you have agreed on a win-win scenario, it will be up to your software provider to make it all happen. When choosing a software provider, either when you are creating your network or migrating to a new platform, you should ensure that roaming features are part of your contract.
Physical borders should not get in the way of growing your network, while industry co-operation is central in enabling a faster, quicker take-up of EVs. Ultimately, the optimal EV charging ecosystem will be the one that spans cities, states and countries across various networks while supporting different languages and multiple currencies
We hope this post gave you a good introduction to roaming. If you are considering adding roaming features to your network, speak to one of our experts.
In our next blog post, we will focus on EV drivers, taking you through what you need to think of to improve their overall experience.