Data-rich analytics and machine learning aren’t terms typically associated with fueling up a vehicle, but for those driving EVs today, that’s exactly what is driving their public charging station experience.
Consider what’s going through the head of the range-anxious EV driver when her charging app – and the last few electrons in her battery – get her to a charging station that: is in use for the next two hours; is out of service; is not in her charging network, does not fast-charge that day; or maybe worst of all, is ICE’ed – that’s charger slang for when an internal combustion engine car squats in an EV charging spot.
This is why smart charging – and the software and the data services that come with it – essentially is the driving and charging experience for the consumer, and it represents the transportation infrastructure of the future. That’s according to Jordan Ramer, CEO and founder of EV charging solutions provider EV Connect.
In our recent interview, he explained that while the consumer experience takes place at the charging station itself, which represents the hardware and is the most visible aspect of EV charging, the majority of the electric vehicle charging ecosystem that makes the at-the-pump experience great is all about software and the data services, which are largely unseen by drivers.
In fact, he says this smart charging software is so important, that you could argue it represents the backbone for driver happiness and is a critical aspect in EV adoption worldwide.
Today, charging an EV is a bit of a novelty, but as EV adoption grows over this decade, that novelty is going to leave us. Jordan gave the example of the normalness of connecting to Wi-Fi; there was a time not so long ago when it seemed like magic we could connect to the world wide web without being tethered by a wire, but now, the magic is gone and, yeah, Wi-Fi is great and all, but if it takes more than a few seconds to load a page I’m not happy with the experience.
You can say the same thing about EV charging. In the near future, the magic will be gone and if the core experience isn’t great EV adoption will suffer.
This smart software isn’t just a boon for the EV driver. Jordan says it’s equally as important, if not MORE important, for the private sector. Adding charging infrastructure can drive business at retail locations, hotels, workplaces – the list goes on – and EV charging will pave the way for companies to ramp up, and visitors to increase.
Here’s the thing though: Smart charging isn’t just about driving EV owners to come pay a visit. It’s the real-time performance data, analytics and alerts that is the real treasure for those managing these stations.
However, Jordan says the people who manage businesses, apartment complexes and company parking lots are not typically EV charging experts, so it will be important for them to find a solid partner to help them navigate the challenge of managing the complex choices around hardware and software, network integrations, physical installations, and long-term management and maintenance of their charging stations.