Frost & Sullivan Says Charging Stations Need to Adopt More User-Friendly Payment/Membership Options

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 10

 

A Single, Simplified Payment Process Would Make Public Charging More Appealing

A Single, Simplified Payment Process Would Make Public Charging More Appealing

Coulomb-Technologies-Chargepoint

The Membership Setup Lacks Conveniences

Frost & Sullivan latest plug-in vehicle related report touches mainly on the charging infrastructure.  Or, should we say, the lack thereof?

According to the report, insufficient infrastructure remains the main reason why wider adoption of electric vehicles has not occurred.

But it’s not just the lack of stations, says Frost & Sullivan.  There’s at least one more issue in play, too.

The report cites “cumbersome methods of authentication and payment” as a drawback as well.

Currently, the most common method of authorizing access to charging stations is the membership model, which require users to sign up.  This isn’t a huge issue to most individuals, but Frost & Sullivan says it’s simply too inconvenient a method for some potential plug-in buyers.

Instead, Frost & Sullivan suggests some sort of system that taps “into current social trends and a connected community with its widespread adoption of smartphones and expectations for digital and real-time transactions.

What Frost & Sullivan is actually getting at though is the removal of this per-registration setup.

“The adoption of near field communication (NFC) within the EV market can be a game changer in EV drivers’ experience.  It has the potential to provide secure authentication and access to authorised entities, and is being tested in Deutsche Telekom’s (DT) smart city project in Friedrichshafen. The results may prevent NFC from being written off as a mainstream technology in a connected society future.”

In short, make access to charging systems easier and make payment as simple as possible.  This can be done via a smartphone with no direct registration required by a consumer.

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10 responses to "Frost & Sullivan Says Charging Stations Need to Adopt More User-Friendly Payment/Membership Options"

  1. kdawg says:

    How about a coin slot? 🙂

  2. Nelson says:

    OK I’ll agree form of payment is one hindrance. If these charging stations had credit card readers like gas pump do, the issue would be solved. The other issue behind lack of charging stations is that companies like ChargePoint charge owners a “fixed” monthly service fee. If their service fee model was use based, more business would get them installed.
    If I install a ChargePoint at my business with a service fee of $20/month and it gets little to no use, I’m at a loss. If the service charge were a fix % of the rate charged at the charging station that would be fair. I could then set the rate low enough to get people to use the station and break even on the electricity and ChargePoint service charge. Everyone wins.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671

    1. Bryan Whitton says:

      Amen. I want to install at my business but it all seems so cumbersome and painful I am just not sure.

      Bryan

    2. Dave R says:

      The problem with credit cards for small transactions like this is that bank fees kill your margin when they charge you 25c/txn + 2-3%.

      Chargepoint works around this by making you fund your account in $25 increments or something.

      Blink works around this by rounding up to the next full hour.

  3. Find it odd when most EVs on road today have telematic displays with real-time internet communication, that a “charge” transaction can’t initialed from comfort of the drivers seat.

    Step 1: drive up to charger
    Step 2: select “charge here” (confirming location & billing… unintentional, but meaningfull pun)
    Step 3: seeing station status chane to “ready” step out & plug-in
    (no magic cards, code, or coins needed)

    Bonus:
    A: can review charge transaction(s) & usage history
    B: can loan/share EV & not need to worry who has magic-card, account authorizations, etc.
    C: since EV has real-time access to charge network can get real-time station(s) status, or make reservation (& update) based on current position & ETA to charge location.

  4. Business models that bill by “charge event”, or by “large time increments” (similar to 1/2, hourly parking) are not attractive to EV drivers. Usage data from EV project show gthat Level 2 stations with hourly billing are used on average once every ~10 days (at ~$1.30 per charge event). Low usage makes it hard to justify economics of having stations networked via costly communication and billing systems. With 80% of charging happening when an EV is parked at home, less than 20% occurs at public charge stations. Unlike Public Level 2 stations, DC Quick Charge stations deliver multiple charges per day, with some regions seeing six, or more charges per station per day (ref: theEVproject.com).

    EVSE busines models need to consider to a per-kiloWatt (kW), or per-minute billing. With infrastructure installation costs being high relative to energy costs, a connection fee justifiable; but shoud be clearly separated from amount of charge delivered. One of the goals of the EV Project (theEVproject.com) was to experiment with various billing models; but to my knowledge only “free” and “per hour” models have been tested and reported. It would be interesting to see how alternative models effect a stations usage?

  5. bloggin says:

    EV charging station in use in cities should remain low and should get lower over time.

    With over 80% of EV owners charging at home, what may happen is the longer EV range available(currently under 80 miles), the less consumers will need public charging.

    At 100 EV miles, over three times average 32 daily mile commute, public charging would really be for emergency use, or if someone wanted to take a road trip. But the average EV owner would never really have a need for public charging on a daily basis, they would charge up at a cheaper rate at home. Then with a 200 EV range….it’s all done at home.

    Especially when the owner factors in that it’s easier and cheaper for them to charge at home, instead of public charging. When inductive charging is available, there will be even less public charging needed, as more owners won’t ‘forget’ to plug in to charge at home.

    Public Quick Charging stations along the interstate may get more use, for those making longer high speed trips over 100 miles.

  6. vdiv says:

    ChargePoint stations accepts credit/debit cards with RFID chips. WattStations use PayPal and QR codes. SemaConnect has an agreement with ParkNow that also uses QR codes or location identifiers. Virtually all charging networks have a toll-free number that receives payment and activates the stations over the phone. Once there is a sufficient number/density of charging stations competition will take care of the ease of use.

  7. io says:

    Hmm, so Frost & Sullivan apparently has some reason to push NFC, and knows more about marketing buzzwords than EVs…

    Seriously, among the potential challenges EVs face, I’d place convenience of payment at public charging stations way down on the list. Registering for the one or two networks in one’s area only takes minutes, completely neglible compared to the amount of work acquiring and insuring any car is in the first place. Then all it takes to start a charging session is to flash an RFID card or token, which can be on the same keychain as the vehicle’s.

    Compare that to pumping gas, which for most drivers will be more frequent (can’t do that at home), and usually requires retreiving the desired card from a wallet, swiping it with the magnetic stripe facing the right way, then enter PIN or zip-code every time.
    I’d say there’s at least as much room for improvement there…

  8. Bill Howland says:

    These consultants make everything so ridiculously complicated. People can credit card swipe onto a 1 ” sized adapter on a smartcelly. No reason why a public ev can’t be the same as a plain old gas pump.