July 10, 2024

Building a driver-centric EV charging experience

Winona Rajamohan

Content Marketing Manager

Matt Teske, CEO and founder of Chargeway, joins Smartcar’s Andy Simon and Matt Aspinwall for a discussion on how EV charging networks can use connected car data to scale customer acquisition and retention — all while driving down developer investments for testing and implementing EV integrations. Watch the full webinar replay here

Across regions, we’re seeing big momentum in EV adoption and growing investment in public charging networks. In Europe, 3.2 million new EVs hit the roads last year, driving an 84% increase in public Direct Current (DC) chargers for fast charging. 

Although EV adoption in the US lags behind Europe, growth remains consistent. Over one million EVs hit the road in the country last year for the first time, and the installation of new fast chargers saw a 16% increase. If you crunch the numbers: By the end of 2023, every fast-charging cord in the country was plugged in for an average of nearly five hours a day. 

But naturally, investment and growth in a relatively new infrastructure area come with their own challenges. While new charging stations continuing to be prioritized, EV charging businesses are also responsible for doubling down on the utilization of existing chargers. "Ensuring charging stations are effectively utilized is crucial to generating sufficient revenue to cover fixed costs,” says Aspinwall. “ Addressing these utilization challenges is also key to making sure your EV charging infrastructure is both sustainable and profitable."

What pain points can EV charging software solve?

According to data from Stable Auto, about 70% of stations in the US are underutilized—although it’s important to note that factors like location and population density can greatly influence this figure. The fact remains that charging network operators can’t miss the opportunity to acquire and retain customers with reliable service and a frictionless user experience for drivers. 

If utilization hits around 15%, a properly placed EV charging station makes a profit in an average of four years. However, a 20% utilization rate is a recommended baseline for most charging network operators (CPOs). 

In addition to underutilization, a pain point for drivers is the billing experience at charging stations. Malfunctioning payment systems, poor network connectivity, and incompatible integrations with credit card systems result in failed charging attempts nearly 20% of the time in the US. 

These gaps in the user experience call for innovative solutions like Chargeway that focus specifically on optimizing available infrastructure to fit the needs of everyday drivers and the mobility choices that make the most sense for them. 

How Chargeway uses Smartcar to build a frictionless EV charging experience

Chargeway is a mobile application that aims to simplify EV charging for every driver. It’s a solution built on the understanding that EV charging is a personal aspect of the vehicle ownership experience, with each driver having unique preferences. But the most important factor that dictates satisfaction with this experience is time

With accurate and reliable access to EV telematics data, Chargeway can offer customers a range of driver-centric solutions that help drivers save time every step of the way—from locating charging stations to viewing real-time charger statuses, planning trips, and more. 

Where does connected car data play a significant role? 

“We know that based on an individual user's use case, the vehicle they select will then dictate what their experience is going to be,” Teske says.

Vehicle telematics data helps Chargeway determine the best ways to fit EV technology into their lifestyle. The solution uses Smartcar to retrieve EV data like battery level and charging status, allowing the app to map the right charging opportunity to a user based on their physical location. 

“What we focus on is a driver-centric design. It’s thinking about all the different pieces that a driver might need to understand how to trust electricity as a fuel type, what that means for the interface we can provide to them, and how that relates to information [in the application] that is functionally useful." 

— Matt Teske, Founder and CEO at Chargeway

How EV charging businesses use Smartcar to improve the driver experience 

During the webinar, we explored two use cases for EV charging network operators: 

  1. Location-based charging station discovery: Using Smartcar to retrieve a vehicle's location and state of charge helps drivers discover nearby charging stations. Andy points out, "This information is essential for creating a seamless user experience which allows you to deliver precise and relevant services to your customers." Businesses can increase utilization rates across their portfolio by displaying available stations based on proximity and queue times. Visibility into an EV’s battery data also helps apps automatically plan trips and eliminate range anxiety with a solution that allows drivers comfortably reach their next charging destination. Read our full use case guide for increasing charging station utilization.

  2. Billing based on energy consumption: EV charging applications can use Smartcar to scale seamless billing across different charging networks by accurately mapping energy costs to the energy consumed by an EV during a charging session. By retrieving a vehicle’s state of charge, battery level, and battery capacity, businesses can calculate the volume of kWh added during this charging session and then charge drivers with a tiered or flat rate per kWh. Read our full use case guide for enabling plug-and-charge payments

Prioritizing personalization and driver preference

Automated access to EV telematics data helps EV charging networks and solution providers add unique value to their solutions and engage drivers in different ways. This shift toward emphasizing EV data and giving drivers the choice to share that data with the apps of their choice will help drivers make smarter charging decisions based on actual usage patterns and vehicle conditions rather than estimates. 

With Smartcar’s standardized integration and consent management solution, future-proof your EV charging application with a competitive edge while delivering exceptional reliability and convenience to customers. Book a demo with us today to learn more!

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