Beyond Charging: New Opportunities for EV Infrastructure
| By: Kevin Haupt
EV infrastructure is currently very fragmented in the US and can cause frustration among plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) owners. For example, each company has their own dedicated app for which users need to create an account and link a credit card for payment. This means drivers could have multiple accounts for various EV charging providers, all completely separate from one another. The apps have useful tools such as “Find a Charging Station”, but they can only search for charging stations within that company’s network making the tool less convenient.
In Europe, there has been a push to standardize the EV infrastructure to increase convenience and adoption for PEVs. In an ideal world, a driver would pull up to a charging station, plug in their vehicle and walk away without ever pulling out their phone or credit card. The vehicle could talk to the charging station via wireless technology and automatically identify the owner and process payment. In addition to personalized charging – what other opportunities can be realized by standardizing the charging network infrastructure?
New Incentive Programs for PEV Owners
Some eco-conscious retailers such as Trader Joes, Whole Foods and Target currently offer discounts for customers when they bring their own reusable bags. Charging station companies could explore options for partnering with retailers, hotels and even private employers to offer incentives for PEV owners. Loyalty programs offer members a sense of belonging and appreciation that can be capitalized on to increase PEV adoption and promote convenient charging. The advantage for businesses to offer PEV incentives comes back to customer data – in today’s retail climate, data is king – and retailers can use this new information to better target their customers.
Transferring Energy Back to the Grid
Vehicle to Grid (V2G) technology enables plug in electric vehicles (PEVs) to transfer power from the battery back to the electric grid. This opens opportunities for PEV owners and fleet managers to capitalize on extra stored energy within their vehicle batteries. Many privately-owned PEVs are only driven to and from work each day leaving much of the battery’s energy capacity unused. Vehicle owners could potentially profit from sending that stored energy back to the grid during peak usage, essentially turning the vehicle into an asset. This can also help optimize power grids and reduce costs as the shift to PEVs accelerates.
Smart City Integration
Charging stations already contain basic communication technology such as WiFi that can talk to a user’s smartphone to process payment. In order to increase PEV mobility within smart cities, charging stations should incorporate advanced IoT capabilities. Municipalities and individuals can benefit from improved connectivity – drivers can easily locate available charging stations and utility managers can regulate their impact on the power grid. Cities can also analyze traffic and user data to identify locations for new charging installations that would most benefit residents.
Opportunities within the PEV charging market continue to expand – learn how NMB can help scale new charging installations with our robust components and high-volume production capabilities.