The Future of the Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Market
EVs and EV infrastructure, the chicken and the egg scenario of the modern day, transportation world. The articles discussing the future of EVs and the lack of support from an infrastructure perspective are countless. They’re also relentless, how many chargers are needed? What’s their power? (because people really need more power apparently) or statements about current numbers such as the recent “there are currently more chargers in the UK than petrol stations”. Information like this often lacks context and more often than not makes it sound abit…. well…. chaotic and disjointed.
So in EV what does the future look like?
To answer this, we need to understand our journey habits i.e. what we ‘actually’ do, NOT what we ‘think’ we do.
There are two main user journeys in EV (there is a third ((a combination)) but we’re not discussing this here).
Firstly, we have a long journey (logistics) model. How the customer gets from point A to point B. In old money this means when can I fuel up or will I make it to my destination without having to stop?! In the world of Petrol and Diesel this is exactly why we have fuelling stations. In EV this is why rapid chargers (50kW+) exist.
Secondly, and more important for most of us, doing a journey to work or going shopping for example, is ‘Opportunistic Charging’. This means you top up a little wherever you stop. Most charging will be done at home or at work, so if you go to the supermarket you will get a little top up or if you’re having dinner with friends…. you’ll be plugging in while chowing down.
So with those 2 journey types understood let’s get that grey matter churning a bit more!
On the long journeys side of the EV coin, rapid charging is improving with new 150kw shortly coming to the market. This will fundamentally reduce charging down to around the 15-minute mark, which is just the perfect amount of time for that well needed toilet break, leg stretch and cup of coffee (with an extra shot and vanilla syrup just to be safe). It’s also important to consider the new vehicles coming to market, which are a stark improvement on first generation vehicles. These cars have ranges of at least 250 miles, meaning that people will be comfortably be completing the vast proportion of their journeys, meaning less charging stops.
On the Opportunistic Charging side, we’re seeing ever increasing numbers of charging points across shopping centres, car parks and destinations. Need to go big or go home with rapid chargers here? Absolutely not, but what you will find is the linking of this charging to retailers, enticing people at such destinations to shop with additional benefits, which very nicely leads us on to where we see a key area of charging going…...
The EV charging market is in a place where large players and incumbents are trying to keep their customers to themselves, but the problem is that no one network is big enough (or quite frankly good enough!). While charging operators are focussing on customer retention across their charging offering, they’re missing the opportunity to enhance their offerings further by working with like-minded businesses (operating in a different space) to benefit the end customer even more. We call this the ‘bundle effect’ and it’s something that we identified by speaking to people with…… (you guessed it)……EVs!
So in terms of the future, as more EVs come to the market (which we know is happening, especially next year) you will see increasing deployment of ultra-fast rapids up and down arterial routes but destination charging will be more around volume of chargers and reliability. Do most people currently care where they put fuel in their cars? Not really, the key elements are convenience and cost. Is charging different? Ultimately no but you do have to factor in reliability and we believe that those using renewable electricity through their networks will also generate a certain amount of loyalty in the short term.
At Zoom we see the future of EV charging also being bundled in to services that add benefits to customers. So when you stop to charge at Aldi, you’re collecting points to spend in store (just an example people!). We’d further this by saying that we anticipate that by using an EV and charging you’ll collect points for reducing CO2 emissions, which would be an incredibly smart way to increase the use of zero emission transportation in general (retailers there is one for you!).
The points for CO2 savings is certainly something Zoom will be doing on the car sharing side i.e. providing credits for people utilising EV’s to benefit them further. We really want people to understand the personal impact they’re having on one of the key issues that affects us all, today.
Remember, If you’re thinking about getting an EV, need insurance for one, want our mobility bundle or want to look at our car sharing platform then drop us a line, heck if you want to say hi just do the same just drop us a line, we'd love to hear from you!
We’d love to welcome you to our Zoom EV Community!
Written by James O'Neill, Zoom Non-Executive Director (21/06/19)