EVnetNL (the former E-laad foundation)
Charge point operator
EV charging management solution
- World’s largest EV charging software migration at the time
- About 3,000 charge points across the Netherlands
- Managing more than 20 different types of chargers from 6 different manufacturers
Performing the world’s largest EV charging software migration
KEEPING EVNET’S NETWORK RELIABLE AND AFFORDABLE
The e-laad foundation (now EVnetNL) had about 3,000 public EV charge points installed across the Netherlands at the time of the migration (summer 2014). After initially using an existing backend system EVnetNL realized that it needed to introduce a new charging management software so it could cope with the increased demand for EVs, improve overall network stability and reduce its operational costs. After conducting a comprehensive six-month study of potential back-office solutions and taking future market needs into account, it concluded that Driivz offered the best platform available. Read more about the migration here.
Migrating EvnetNL entire network was unprecedented, as a migration of this size and scale had previously never been undertaken. Additionally, the network consisted of over 20 different types of charge points made by various manufacturers which directly impacted on its overall stability.
Other criteria EVnetNL required from its new EV charging management system was that it was capable of managing the needs of the numerous third-party manufacturers, that it could quickly resolve operational issues – which was especially important as the number of drivers using the network was rapidly growing – and that it was future-proof and could support smart charging.
Moreover, the Driivz and EVnetNL teams had a very tight schedule to perform the migration, as the date the incumbent software was set to go offline had already been decided. It was therefore imperative from both a cost and driver experience perspective that the network didn’t go offline. If this were to happen, it would mean that each charge point would have to be manually brought back online by a technician on-site, which would send operational costs soaring.
Driivz’s platform is a highly intelligent cloud-based operating system which is scalable, future-proofed and hardware-agnostic, meaning that it more than matched all EVnetNL’s needs and was capable of tackling the migration challenge head-on.
At the time, several Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) versions were in use on ElaadNL’s network. So, prior to beginning the migration, Driivz performed extensive integration tests and created different OCPP connections to optimize the communication with each type of charging station. Utilizing in-house designed methodologies and processes, the company’s experts then started the migration by collecting information about the network’s behaviors and functions, such as its interfaces, processes and accompanying third-party systems. Working collaboratively with ElaadNL, Driivz also mapped all aspects of the network’s charge points, including their type and firmware version, plus recorded any instances of past issues that resulted in network downtime. Additionally, the companies established a clear communication channel between the charge points and back office, which helped to define the scripts and tools to migrate the stations in the most seamless way possible. This process would also enable easy scaling and expansion as the network continued to grow.
Once the planning and data collection was complete, ElaadNL began migrating its network over to the Driivz platform in batches. This gradual, phased approach allowed Driivz to simultaneously test the functionality of the charge points already migrated to maintain network stability.
“Driivz is much more than a back-office system. The company is creating a smart system for all of electromobility.”
Thijs van Wijk,
Test Laboratory Manager, ElaadNL
The migration proved to be a huge success, with over 95% of charge points functioning normally despite moving from one management system to another.
Getting all the stations to successfully migrate was a difficult task, since not all station types could be easily reconfigured to connect to the new back-office address. Some configuration scripts or firmware updates had to be sent, a process which is prone to error – due to which about 5 percent of the stations had to be serviced on site. A lot of lessons were learned during this migration by the different charging station manufacturers and by the OCPP community, which resulted in much more robust software, less ambiguity in the new versions of the OCPP protocol and easier configuration of the stations themselves. The migration to Driivz’s platform also allowed ElaadNL to streamline its business, increase stability, boost driver satisfaction and reduce its total cost of operations – one of the company’s primary aims at the outset of the project.
Once the migration was complete, ElaadNL was delighted to have access to an open and advanced back-office system that was flexible, innovative and cost-effective. The migration is still the largest ever undertaken to this day, with the lessons learned significantly contributing to the overall knowledge of the entire EV industry ever since. These insights include Driivz’s work with OCPP integrations and connections, which have been incorporated in later versions of the protocol to reduce ambiguity and improve several functionalities, including other network migrations.