25 February 2022
GROWING THE EV CHARGING NETWORK - SIMPLICITY AND INTEGRATION TO LEAD THE WAY IN 2022
As electric vehicle (EV) ownership and the charging network continue to grow, Cecilia Routledge, Global Director, Energy and Facilities, for CTEK, the leading global brand in vehicle charging solutions, gives her views on the trends and developments that will shape the growth of the charging infrastructure in 2022, and what needs to happen for the charging network to work effectively and integrate into wider society.
Over the next five years, we can expect to see a steep rise in EV ownership at a rate of around 40% a year, mainly driven by EU and country-specific regulatory targets, a growing commercial market, increased consumer demand and car manufacturers shifting focus.
The roll-out of a robust EV charging infrastructure is vital to support this rapid EV growth and, as such, is an important component in the transition to a fossil-free society. Equally important though is how these charging points operate, and how they integrate into the society we live in.
Here are some predictions from CTEK about what we think will happen, as we head along the road to a greener future, with sustainable transport at its heart.
1. Open standards and load balancing are becoming increasingly important
The connection of the charging points is one of the most important aspects for building stable electrical systems and overcoming possible power problems in urban areas. Open protocols like OCPP (open charge point protocol) should be standard. All charging points and networks should also be able to balance loads, which means optimising charging based on the needs and capacity of the grid, individual households and properties. Smart and safe charging benefits society at large.
2. EV roaming to make an entrance
In mainland Europe, a number of operators like E.ON drive and Vattenfall inCharge have now entered into ‘EV roaming’ agreements that will open up the EV charging infrastructure for drivers, giving them access to thousands of charging locations worldwide, in much the same way as data roaming agreements work for mobile phones. This is a really positive development for EV drivers that also fits well with environmental and wider global sustainability goals.
3. Payment solutions will be simplified
When it comes to payment solutions, there are many players in the market today - which is a good thing - but it has also led to a plethora of different payment methods at charging stations. As an EV owner, you may need to carry several RFID tags in the glove box to charge on the roads. If you come to a new charging post, you may also need to scan a QR code and register on a website, or in an app, to charge your vehicle. Work is underway on EU legislation which would require operators to open their chargers to everyone in a non-discriminatory and transparent way, and allow debit card payments - so hopefully 2022 will be the year when we exchange RFID tags, QR codes and apps for the ability to easily tap our mobile phones, and use our debit cards, when we need to top up our car batteries.
The evolving international ISO 15118 standard for ‘vehicle to grid’ communications is a real game changer, as it will enable an EV to simply ‘plug and charge’. You don’t need all the different RFID tags and payments cards - the car automatically identifies itself to the charging station, and the cost of the charging session is then automatically taken from your debit or credit card – as simple as that!
4. Areas of growth
Although home chargers will remain the biggest market in real terms (around 75%), we predict that chargers for commercial fleet will see the fastest growth, followed by destination, workplace and roadside charging.
Commercial fleet fastest area of growth
Many companies are already realising the benefits of fleet electrification. As well as the clear environmental benefits, the cost of running an EV are considerably lower than a petrol or diesel vehicle and, in many European countries, there are significant tax benefits for the company, and employees personally.
Through investments from companies in the industry, and with the help of instruments such as the Bonus Malus system, the premium for electric trucks and electric buses, and investments in charging infrastructure, development has progressed. We can expect to see increasing regulatory pressure on businesses to make more environmentally sound choices about the vehicles they provide for staff, so installing EV chargers now is a smart futureproofing move.
More employers to offer EV charging at work
Many employees already charge their mobile phone at the workplace, so why not their EV too? Employers can, through the installation of charging boxes on or near their premises, provide their own ‘fueling station’ for employees. This not only makes it easier for employees to get their car fully charged for their onward journey, but also helps companies meet their sustainability targets, supporting a cleaner, greener future for us all.
Keep in mind, however, that charging electric cars in the office may count as a ‘benefit in kind’, and handling and administration of the charging itself must be in place for everything to be right. In many European countries new rules for preferential taxation of electric car charging are expected to be in place in 2022.
Significant increase in destination charging
We expect to see a significant increase in destination charging. Drivers are increasingly mapping out their journeys based on the availability of chargers not only at their final destination, but also en route, and availability of destination charging will increasingly feature in drivers’ choice of hotel, retail and leisure outlet. This makes the installation of reliable EV chargers a sound business investment.
Road vehicles currently account for close to a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, and electrification is an important part of the solution. There are now more than 130 EV models available, compared to just 9 in 2011, and we expect several new car brands to enter the EV market this year. This increased choice will help to further increase EV take up, as will the growth of the charging network. We are certainly heading in the right direction on the road to a fossil-free society, and this is a journey that we at CTEK are proud to play a part in.