January 16, 2020

How to offer EV charging rewards programs with Smartcar's odometer API

Charlotte Kosche

Sr. Content Writer

Electric vehicle charging businesses are using Smartcar primarily because of our EV APIs, which allow web and mobile apps to retrieve the state of charge, remaining range, and charging status from electric vehicles. Many EV charging companies strive to develop technologically powerful and easy-to-use products, which our APIs allow them to do.

A lot fewer companies, however, take advantage of a different but equally large business opportunity: fostering customer loyalty. Using our odometer API and other API endpoints, EV charging companies have built rewards programs that raise brand awareness and help retain their existing customer base. Here’s why your company should build a rewards program and how you can do so using the Smartcar API.

Why EV charging businesses should build rewards programs

Fuel rewards programs have already been around and successful for a long time. With a rather interchangeable product, similar pricing, and abundant offer, especially in high-density areas, rewards programs are one of the few tools that oil and gas companies can leverage to incentivize customers to stay loyal to their brand.

As EV charging networks emerge and become more and more popular in the U.S. and abroad, it is crucial for EV charging businesses to build brand awareness and gather a loyal customer base early on in the process. In addition to attracting and retaining customers, EV charging rewards programs even serve a much larger purpose. By encouraging EV owners to drive and charge in an environmentally-friendly manner, EV charging companies take a lead on reducing carbon emissions and saving the planet.

How to build an EV charging rewards program

1. Reward customer loyalty

The most important aspect of EV charging rewards programs is to reward customers for charging at your company’s charging stations. So, how do you know whether an EV owner charged their vehicle primarily at your stations, or whether they used other stations too?

The Smartcar odometer API allows you to find out. Use the odometer API to retrieve your customer’s mileage at the end of every month. Compare the number of miles your customer traveled with the number of kilowatt-hours their vehicle drew from your EV charging stations. The more EV owners charge at your company’s stations compared to the distance they traveled, the more rewards points they earn in a given month.

2. Reward efficient driving behavior

An alternative to rewarding customers for their loyalty is rewarding them for environmentally-friendly driving behavior. Using the odometer API as well as the Smartcar EV API, check a vehicle’s mileage every time the car starts and stops charging. Compare the distance traveled in-between two charging periods with the change in the battery’s state of charge. The more efficiently your customer drives in a given month, the more rewards points they earn.

3. Reward off-peak charging

Another way to incentivize environmentally-friendly behavior is to reward off-peak charging. Use the Smartcar EV API to check whether your customer’s vehicle is charging. Reward customers for charging either during hours with low electricity consumption or during hours when the share of electricity generated from renewable sources is highest.

Bonus: Offer support for multiple vehicles

Finally, in addition to rewarding customers for their loyalty and environmentally-friendly behavior, you also need to make sure your rewards program is easy to use for families and others who share or own multiple vehicles. Using the Smartcar VIN API, check which one of your customer’s vehicles is plugged into your EV charging station. Map that information to the mileage and battery state of charge of that same vehicle.

When you offer support for multiple vehicles under one account, you don’t only create a friendlier product for customers and families who own multiple EVs. You also make sure not to count any charging activity from ineligible vehicles, for example when a customer temporarily rents or borrows a vehicle that’s not their own.

Learn more about our APIs for EV charging and reach out to our team for a product demo!

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