27 Sep 2019
Leading charging solutions providers sound the bell for an open standard for charging networks for electric vehicles and promote the transition to e-mobility.
A group of Europe’s leading smart charging solutions providers have signed a letter of intent pledging to open their networks for drivers of electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK and Scandinavia through a roaming partnership by the end of 2019. Initiators of this initiative to open up the charging infrastructure are Allego, EVBox, NewMotion and Vattenfall. Together with Chargemap, ChargePoint, Charge4Europe, Chargepoint Services, Engenie, Franklin Energy, Plugsurfing, and Travelcard they want to make a statement on how easy access to charging infrastructure will help improve the switch to e-mobility for drivers in this region.
When implemented, the agreement will mean EV drivers in the UK, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark only require a single subscription to access public charging stations operated by any of the signatories. In addition to accepting each other’s subscribers, the operators will share charging station information so data can be used to improve the charging experience for customers. This will make it easy for EV drivers to see where and if a charge point is available for charging and what a charging session will cost at the specific charge point.
Important step forward for EV charging
This letter of intent represents a significant step forward for public charging infrastructure in the UK and the Nordics, which currently trail behind other European markets in terms of interoperability agreements. Currently, EV drivers need memberships to multiple different operators to be able to fully access every available public charge point. This has created an inconsistent experience for customers, whereas a more joined-up, consumer friendly public charging network could make EVs more desirable. Moreover, interoperability agreements in markets such as the Netherlands, France and Germany have been accredited with fuelling the switch over to EVs.
Creating a more joined-up and coherent public charging network is especially critical for the UK, which has stated an intention to remove traditional combustion engine vehicles from its roads by 2040. On a European level it is expected that by 2025 there will need to be at least 1.2 million public charging stations to meet the growing need for EV charging.
Better user experience through roaming
When roaming for charging infrastructure becomes more accessible, drivers will have a choice in which mobility service provider (MSP) company they want to use. Drivers will be able to pay for their charging session with one single subscription via their app or token and all payments of the provider will be collected on one bill. This is an advantage for all, especially for business drivers, who no longer need to manually ask for reimbursement for multiple accounts from their employer. Companies will be able to manage all their billing, settlement and reimbursement automatically with one organisation.
Better roaming access to charging infrastructure will also lead to more competition and product innovation. Ultimately creating a better user experience for drivers with improved applications. This will fuel the uptake of EVs as drivers will have access to apps that will show where more charge points are situated, which are available for charging in real time, but it will also simplify administrative systems for billing, settlement and reimbursement and bring the ease of charging further in line with expectations set out by a century of internal combustion engine fuelling.
The agreements between charge point operators are based on the Open Charge Point Interface, a standardized and open-source protocol that is commonly used in the charging industry in Europe. The initiators of this letter of intent also welcome other interested charge point operators and mobility service providers to participate in this initiative.