The growth pains of EV mass adoption
Working for a company that is all in on the energy transition inspired me to look into electric vehicles. Yes, that is right, I am considering joining the green car revolution and decided to give electric vehicles a chance.
After typical online research, I took the traditional approach and went to a car dealer in my area to learn about my options. You know what they say: seeing is believing. I was looking to test a few used fully electric vehicles. To my surprise, there was not one used fully electric vehicle I could try. So, I had to settle for a Hyundai Ioniq plug-in hybrid from 2019. The driving experience was better than I expected. The strange, new feeling of driving a silent car was far better than I expected.
On the other hand, the car dealership experience was not what I expected it to be. I left with more questions than answers and that is mainly because the car seller was unprepared for all my questions that did not always pertain to the car itself. I was surprised to learn that the second-hand market for EVs is still in its infancy so you have to dig deep in your pocket if you want a full EV. The latest EVs with a longer range have a long waiting time before you can get to try it out. Moreover, the aftermarket for spare parts and service was not as straightforward as with combustion engine cars.
Moving on to the charging experience, when I first started to play with the electric vehicle idea, I noticed that the building where I live does not have dedicated EV charging places. So, I decided to call the household and ask them what I can do if I had an EV. The answer was that they planned to install a few chargers by the end of the year. Well, 2021 is gone and we are almost in March 2022 and I have not seen any chargers in my household parking. When I asked about how I would pay for the charging once it becomes available, I got a simple “we do not know yet” answer.
Digging deeper into the charging maze, I found out that owning an EV also makes you the (not so proud) user of a bunch of apps for just charging your car. Why so many? - You ask!
Well to answer this question, first let’s go back and look at the re-fueling experience of a regular car. If you own a diesel or petrol car, and you need to refill your tank, you drive to the closest gas station and spend less than 5 minutes to get a thank full, pay and leave. Now, re-fueling the time is not what I want to highlight here. The fact that you can pay with a credit/debit card, cash or your mobile phone makes the whole difference. On the other hand, the EV driver charging experience is totally different.
Each network has its own app, so if you only ever use a single charging company that’s not such a big deal. Tesla owners, for example, use the Supercharger network around the world, so they only need the Tesla app to top up on the go. But for everyone else, it becomes challenging.
When it comes to electricity, one might think that if you have the right cable and port, it really makes no difference where you get your electricity. This is one of the biggest assumptions that new EV drivers can make. EV charging stations are run by different companies and all of them have their own app. This means that if you want to charge with their chargers, you must download the app, sign up for an account, and put in your payment information.
Got in front of a charger and you don’t have the app? Is the app constantly crashing? Well, that is just tough luck. Now you have no choice but to go and recharge somewhere else. To add to this, electricity prices vary by provider, time of the day and electricity production type (solar, wind, nuclear, etc.). So good luck in keeping up with the costs and the whole app party on your phone.
In Finland, the fifth most advanced European electric vehicle market, an EV driver needs around 15 different mobile apps just to be able to “refuel” its EV. This app confusion has been validated by the eMabler EV driver survey, recently conducted in Finland. While charging mainly at home and work, the majority of respondents (n=315) answered the following question How many tools are you currently using to manage your EV charging experience? with “Way too many”. The combined answers of “way too many” and “2-4” gives a grim outlook for the end-user electric vehicle charging experience.
I believe that joggling multiple apps and accounts for a single action must stop. Fortunately, there are solutions to improve and unify the end-user experience, regardless of where they choose to charge their EV. It is a fact now that electric vehicles are growing in numbers day by day. And with that also grows the network of chargers. I believe that the market does not need new apps for charging your electric vehicle. In most cases, the parking operator and hotel already have their own app for the business they are conducting. It seems only natural to add EV charging services and payments to the same apps.
With eMabler API’s, for example, businesses can easily add EV charging payments to their existing apps. This enables them to offer a seamless experience for their end-users who already are using the app.
Here are a few more concrete examples where eMabler helps service providers manage and deliver a better end-user experience while generating additional revenue.
Home and public EV charging services
One of our customer’s largest business opportunities in the home charging service. However, end-users occasionally need to use public charging services too. eMabler provides an interface to connect with several public charge point operator (CPO) platforms. This way the end-user can charge both at home and in public with the same service package. Additionally, the home charging provider can invoice both home and public charging services in one bill. Everybody has to gain.
Connecting dynamic load management with building management systems
Installing electric vehicle charging to buildings’ parking places sets special requirements for energy management between the EV chargers and the buildings’ energy connection and consumption. eMabler dynamic load management integrates with the buildings’ energy systems to ensure the best possible service experience and avoid unexpected costs resulting from EV chargers.
An electric vehicle charging service with an existing mobile app
Many businesses have a mobile app, through which end-users can buy and use products or services. Apps are common in petrol stations, supermarkets, parking operators, hotels, etc. With the eMabler APIs, these companies can offer EV charging services with their existing mobile apps so that the customers can use the same existing familiar app and offer a better end-user experience.
The bottom line is this:
Electric vehicles are here to stay. Period! This is not a topic that you can expect to fade away in a few years. More and more industries are becoming aware of the potential offered by the energy transition and to speed this transition up all stakeholders have to work together and create a seamless end-user experience. At the end of the day, I want to feel good about driving an EV and not being frustrated with the overall experience of charging and maintaining my car.
Are you looking to offer EV charging services to your customers? Let us help you. See what eMabler can do for you.
About the author:
Constantin Buda - CMO
Constantin has been working for the past 12 years with technology companies playing different sales and marketing roles. As a CMO at eMabler he translates complex, high-tech information into marketing stories that drive growth.
Based in Helsinki, Finland. We believe that eMobility is the way forward, having worked in the industry for over a decade and we see a great boom in eMobility. We’ve also seen many platform providers develop closed ecosystems and realized that there’s a need for a more flexible solution that focuses on end-user experience.
That’s why we decided to build an open platform that lets you integrate your EV charging data into any existing systems, please contact us.