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Electric Vehicle Charging Networks Trend Toward Convenience – EQ Mag

Electric Vehicle Charging Networks Trend Toward Convenience – EQ Mag


Public charging networks like EVCS are turning to technology to make their platforms easily accessible and interoperable across a range of charging operators.

Just as electric vehicles are becoming increasingly common, public charging opportunities continue to grow, are becoming more interoperable, and are being structured across a range of service plans.

“We think that our business model is going to be very smooth for renters,” said Karim Farhat, vice president for partnerships at EVCS, an EV charging network with locations in California, Oregon and Washington.

EVCS, like other charging networks, understands the need to structure business models and partnerships to serve residents living in multifamily housing for EVs to become a workable mobility option for the millions of residents in apartments. Like other charging networks, drivers can use the EVCS system and pay per kilowatt. Or, they can sign up for a subscription plan, set up as a fixed allotment of kilowatts provided per month, or an unlimited package.

“You can either drive and pay as you go, or you can have a subscription, where you can rely on that charger next to you and you can use it over and over again,” Farhat explained. “All of that is driving toward our strategy, which is really being open to as many EV drivers as possible.”

Making charging available and convenient for residents living in multifamily housing has been a central conversation piece among policymakers and others, particularly since the rollout of the large federal infrastructure investment package which is helping to spur the build-out of national charging networks along major corridors, as well as to grow the number of “community” chargers.

The placement of public chargers, and the structure of their business models, is seen as a key component in ensuring equitable access to EVs. Up to 25 percent of drivers will rely solely on public charging infrastructure, said Geoff Gibson, senior program manager at Forth, an Oregon-based EV advocacy and public policy organization.

“And that is a large amount of people that will be very dependent on what we’re all talking about here today,” said Gibson, during a recent webinar to discuss public charging and policymaking.

The location of community chargers should be thought through and data-based using a range of metrics, said experts.

“Just throwing a charger into somebody’s neighborhood and saying, ‘Hey there’s a charger there now,’ I don’t believe that’s necessarily equity,” said Gabe Klein, who heads up the newly formed Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, speaking at the January Micromobility World Conference. “So we’re looking at the outcomes, the mobility outcomes that we’re creating for people. And we’ve been encouraging states and cities to think about outcomes, versus just chargers.”

EVCS takes the position to work with apartment buildings and property managers to locate charging onsite. However, it also looks for opportunities to locate charging nearby, and at locations like gyms, grocery stores and other services that may be in close proximity to an apartment building, making the charger easily accessible.

“The charger may not be exactly at the apartment complex, but it’s going to be close enough for the people to go and do their other economic activities and still be able to get the charge,” said Farhat.

Other charging operators like Volta are also looking to shopping centers and similar locations to site charging. The Volta business model depends largely on its advertising displays — large flatscreens attached to the chargers, which are generally free to use.

To make the charging experience more convenient, EVCS has partnered with Hubject, a technology company which enables the interoperability among charging networks.

“EVCS has an app. We love our app. We think we have a great app. But the driver does not have to use our app,” said Farhat. “They can use another app that they prefer to be able to come to our charger, start a charging session, and pay for that charging session.”

Hubject works as the “intermediary” that allows the connection between a charging network like EVCS and whatever app the driver is using to locate, access and pay for a charging cycle.

EVCS recently signed an $8.1 million deal with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to build and retrofit 21 electric vehicle fast-charging stations in the state. The company also worked with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to upgrade 44 existing car charging stations to DC high speed. The chargers also have 110-volt outlets, making them suitable for charging other devices like e-bikes and scooters.

“We work collaboratively with the DOTs across all three states,” said Farhat. “The collaboration is customized to fit the needs of the DOT, and it’s always dependent on the program that we’re participating with, as part of those DOTs.”

Source: govtech
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network