The electric vehicle charging market is going through a process of transition and is evolving at a rapid pace. Today, for recent EV owners it is still a challenge to understand the process of how, where, and with who you can charge an EV.
The market is in fact full of different companies offering multiple different pricing options, with subsequent additional fees included depending on the time you charge or if you are charging in a frequently visited location.
As such, finding the most economical way to charge your vehicle will depend on consumers needs, driving behaviour, and vehicle. In this sense, choosing an EV charging provider is in a way comparable to how people choose their mobile phone contracts. For instance, consumers that prefer data over mobile minutes must find the best options for their overall phone contract. Likewise, depending on needs and usage it is much more effective to have a bundled contract rather than pay-as-you-go.
The same concept and thinking can be seen for driving and charging an electric vehicle. EV users who primarily drive in cities and charge less frequently in public will opt for a different contract then those that commute long distances. They would also therefore, pay varying tariffs. It will be advantageous for those that only need a rare top-up to opt for ad-hoc charging, while those who are frequently driving longer distances will most likely benefit from a contractual charging subscription model.
One of the main differences in this specific analogy, however, is the transparency and clarity of options for those looking to find the best package and subscriptions for their electric vehicle. With the increasing number of charging providers that exist within each European country, it can be daunting to understand and compare prices.
On top of which, in some cases the cost of charging while traveling across borders is still unclear. Ensuring so-called “EV roaming” will hinge on providing consumers with more price transparency so that they are aware of the price to charge when they travel outside their home country. In this sense, we must learn quickly from the experience of the telecoms industry, who only relatively recently fully implemented roaming across the EU.
Luckily, as mentioned previously, the market is moving quickly, and so must policymakers. The swift revision of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFI-D) must deal with these outstanding issues of price transparency and payment solutions in order to provide consumers with the assurance and understanding that they can drive across Europe with sufficient, reliable, and affordable infrastructure.
In the meantime, AVERE is working diligently to provide relevant stakeholders and consumers with the needed price transparency for charging their EVs. Through the European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO) project, AVERE will soon be providing insight into the average cost of charging an EV per Member State within the EU. This will bring a better understanding of where the market is heading and showcase how cost-effective it truly is to charge your EV – whether you have a contract or charge on an ad-hoc basis.