Electric vehicle firms partner to ramp up charging station access, reliability
- Electric vehicle (EV) charging management company EV Connect announced its Partner Program on Wednesday to expand access to EV charging stations and improve their maintenance. BTCPower, EVBox and EVoCharge were named the initial program partners.
- Through the new EV Connect Manufacturer Portal, the partners can provide manufacturers with insight into charging stations’ performance, meaning maintenance can be managed more quickly and proactively, in a bid to ensure that charging station availability is not affected by downtime. The companies will be able to keep track of stations’ performance data, EV Connect CEO Jordan Ramer said, meaning they can “proactively fix stations before they break.”
- For EV users, Ramer said the partnership can help expand charging station access by improving reliability at those stations and reducing downtime for maintenance issues. Meanwhile, cities and site owners looking to manage EV charging infrastructure will benefit from reduced maintenance and operating costs as issues can be more easily tracked and fixed, Ramer said.
A major obstacle standing in the way of broader EV deployment is access to charging infrastructure. And while automakers continue to herald the availability of new technology and advancements in batteries to avoid range anxiety, charging station availability is key for EV drivers — and can be beneficial for charging station owners and operators too, Ramer said.
“As an owner of a charging station asset, there’s really two things that you’re thinking about: there’s a return on your investment, and then there’s minimizing your total cost of ownership,” Ramer said. “Both of those play into what we’re trying to do here, for the charge station asset owners.”
Ramer said part of that availability is ensuring that charging stations are not out of order, which this partnership can help to enhance. Being able to proactively monitor a station’s performance and detect if it is about to experience maintenance issues can increase convenience for customers, Ramer said.
“Based on this tighter integration, we’re privy to the insides of a station so that we know when there’s the beginning of problems, and then we’re automatically adjusting and able to then proactively go out and fix anything either remotely or online,” Ramer said.
This hardware-software partner program, which EV Connect said is the industry’s first, comes as the transportation sector focuses increasingly on electrifying its fleet vehicles. Ride-hailing giant Lyft has pledged an all-EV fleet by 2030, while General Motors and charging station provider EVgo said earlier this year it would build 2,700 public fast charging stations in 40 metropolitan areas over the next five years — a move that would triple EVgo’s existing charging network.
Some cities have also seen an explosion in EV interest. Columbus, OH said in May that its residents have purchased 3,323 EVs over the past three years, exceeding its adoption goals created in 2016, and pushing the proportion of EVs sold in the city out of all car sales to more than 1.8%, from 0.4% in 2016.
As EV adoption continues to increase nationwide, so will customers’ reliability on charging infrastructure, and this partner program can help ensure that reliable coverage, Ramer said.
“Every minute or so we’re understanding the health of that station, and are able to act on that information, as well as giving our charging station partners access to that information, so that they can make better products and improve their products in almost near real time,” Ramer said.