Open standards and load balancing are becoming increasingly important. Connection of charging points is one of the most important aspects for building stable electrical systems and overcoming possible power problems in urban areas. Open protocols like OCPP (open charge point protocol) should be standard. All charging points and networks should also be able to balance loads, which means optimising charging based on the needs and capacity of the grid, individual households and properties.
EV roaming will make an entrance. In mainland Europe, a number of operators like E.ON drive and Vattenfall inCharge have now entered into EV roaming agreements which will open up the EV charging infrastructure for drivers, giving them access to thousands of charging locations worldwide, in much the same way as data roaming agreements work for mobile phones. This is a really positive development for EV drivers, and one expected in the UK fairly soon. EV roaming also fits well with the UK’s environmental goals, and wider global sustainability goals.
Payment solutions will be simplified. When it comes to payment, there are many players in the market but this has led to a plethora of different payment methods at charging stations. EV owners may need to carry several RFID tags in the glove box to charge on the roads. At a new charging post, they may also need to scan a QR code and register on a website, or in an app, to charge a vehicle. Work is under way on EU legislation which would require operators to open their chargers to everyone in a non-discriminatory and transparent way, and allow debit card payments. Whether the UK government decides to follow this legislation is yet to be seen.
The evolving international ISO 15118 standard for ‘vehicle to grid’ communications is a real game changer, as it will enable an EV to simply ‘plug and charge’ withoug different RFID tags and payment cards – the car automatically identifies itself to the charging station, and the cost of the charging session is then automatically debited to a debit or credit card.
Although home chargers will remain the biggest market in real terms (around 74%), CTEK predicts chargers for commercial fleet will see the fastest growth, followed by destination, workplace and roadside charging.
The UK government offers grants of 35% (up to GBP3,500) off the price of an electric car and up to 20% (up to GBP8,000) off an electric van. CTEK expects to see increasing government pressure on businesses to make more environmentally sound choices about the vehicles they provide for staff, so installing EV chargers now is a smart futureproofing move.
Many employees already charge their mobile phone at the workplace, so why not their EV too? Employers can, through the installation of charging boxes on or near their premises, provide their own ‘fueling station’ for employees. This not only makes it easier for employees to get their car fully charged for their onward journey, but also helps companies meet their sustainability targets. Electricity provided to employees through workplace charging stations has been specifically excluded by the UK government as a ’benefit in kind’, so there is no impact on an employee’s tax bill. There are also incentives available to employers by way of the Government Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS), which offers grants of up to GBP350 for each charging socket installed, up to a maximum of 40 sockets (GBP14,000).
CTEK also expects to see a significant increase in destination charging. Drivers are increasingly mapping out their journeys based on the availability of chargers at final destination, and also en route, and availability of destination charging will increasingly feature in drivers’ choice of hotel, retail and leisure outlet. This makes the installation of reliable EV chargers a sound business investment.