Electric mobility is seen as the future of mobility, across Europe and throughout the rest of the world. This is still a young and dynamic market, which is evolving at a rapid pace. As habits change, legislation is introduced, and incentives are launched, e-mobility will become a permanent fixture in the landscape.
Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular. Global sales of electric cars are seeing a 40% year-on-year increase, according to IEA. The catalyst for change isn’t just the reduction of carbon emissions – although this is vitally important. The cars are improving in comfort and range, becoming more affordable, and rewards and incentives make it appealing to invest in a non-fossil-fuel vehicle.
The popularity of electromobility will continue to grow, but our focus must also be on the development of charging infrastructure. Specifically, payment technology must allow for drivers to access charging points whenever and wherever they need, using an intuitive, convenient, and secure payment method.
What EV Drivers Need From Charging Infrastructure
When they’re out on the road, EV drivers often ask themselves two questions:
- Where can I charge my car?
- How can I pay for my charge?
Historically, many EV charging operators have operated with a “closed” system – subscription-based charging limited to registered members of their scheme. However, it became clear that this was an obstacle to the growth of e-mobility in Europe, and alternative solutions are gaining traction. At the same time, EV drivers still have uncertainty about what to expect from the payment experience.
To achieve growth in the industry and better user experience, standardisation is vital. A uniformed approach to open payment means that customers can use familiar cashless methods such as debit or credit cards for EV charging. Operators that allow for these everyday methods today will see an immediate competitive advantage as the rest of the market pivots to catch up.
This concept has already been proven at traditional filling stations, where drivers pay for their petrol at self-service machines. This isn’t a magic trick, and the task is exactly the same for EV charging: the customer wants to pay, and can complete their transaction using a common and familiar method.
No traditional fuel brand can afford to build a closed payment system at its own petrol pumps, which are only available to a select few members. So why should EV charging be any different?
Innovation and Integration With EV Charging Payments
Above and beyond processing customer transactions, EV charging payment technology can play a key role in added-value services and commercial offers.
For example, there’s nothing to prevent retailers from informing customers of discounts during the payment pre-authorisation phase at the charging point, pointing the driver in the direction of a nearby shop for a free coffee or a snack at a special price. The operator can monetise these advertising slots, and all parties benefit commercially from the collaboration.
Furthermore, modern technology can also do without the traditional clunkiness of items such as paper receipts. This is particularly important at EV charging stations, because there’s a lack of space to integrate a printer – and there are extra maintenance costs to consider. With CCV’s technology, for example, digital receipts can be sent through a QR code to the customer’s phone, or via app or email.
These are just a couple of examples of how payment technology can change the experience of EV charging, whilst adding huge benefits to operators and other stakeholders. In the next section, we’ll explain various possibilities for integrating open payments with charging stations, and outline more advantages for operators who work with CCV – the leader in EV charging payments.
CCV’s Payment Solutions for EV Charging
3-in-1 Solution: CCV IM30 with PIN
The CCV IM30 is the ideal payment point for EV charging stations with multiple charging points. Drivers can park up, plug in, choose their chargepoint, and pay on the IM30. The option of entering a PIN also allows payments above the contactless limit – which is now €50 in many countries. Due to pre-authorisation, the cardholder only ever pays for the actual amount that they charge up.
The IM30 is completely customisable, allowing operators to interact and engage with their customer in the way that they need. For example, they can add loyalty features, intercom functionality, or other important elements. The large display can be used for a variety of functions that make the customer journey more attractive, seamless, and convenient – while maximising opportunities for the operator.
Contactless Reader: COR A20 & OPM
Contactless is already extremely popular in many countries around the world, and the Coronavirus crisis has powered further adoption of this technology due to its hygiene benefits.
Our COR A20 solution is secure and reliable, and it has its own display – so charging stations don’t need to integrate a separate screen. This is a two-part solution, consisting of a contactless reader and an OPM controller. It has a small installation depth and meets all the requirements for outdoor payment. As per regulations by MasterCard and Visa, the pre-authorised amount must be made clear to the customer – and the COR A20 facilitates this function.
QR Code Payments
CCV has developed an innovative QR code payment solution, specifically designed for EV charging operators. This technology allows the customer to scan a QR code on the display and pay via mobile website in a variety of ways (credit or debit card, iDEAL, PayPal, etc.). The customer simply charges their vehicle and drives away, while the back-end processes the transaction. They can also get a digital receipt.
You can read more about this in our blog post about introducing QR code payments to EV charging.
Reporting Systems and Dashboards
For manufacturers and charging station operators, it’s an advantage to have a 24/7 overview of systems and get remote access to install software updates. This is essential for maintenance of the payment devices, and allows for quick fixes and easy monitoring of uptime. CCV’s terminal management systems make this possible – giving operators a holistic view of their EV charging payments environment.
Summary: Key Takeaways
Payment methods and preferences are different in every country. This makes it all the more important to offer uniform payment options that work across borders. Within single countries, it’s also important to increase interoperability between EV charging operators to maximise the growth of the industry.
Equally important is price transparency. The EV driver needs to know the price of their charging session before getting started. With the right payment solution from CCV, operators can build trust and offer a crystal clear experience to customers – delivering a seamless charging session without nasty surprises.
Contactless has become even more important in recent months, as hygiene remains a priority – adding to the speed and convenience benefits of the technology. Smartphone payments (e.g. Apple Pay and Google Pay) are also becoming more of an attractive option – as no PIN entry is required on a terminal, just authentication on the customer’s own personal device.
These are payment trends that EV charging operators can adapt to with the help of CCV.
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About the Author
Maria Joukovitch is a passionate and professional partner manager, specialized in the international payment industry. Responsible for managing a portfolio of international partners where she is customer driven with focus on results. Maria is experienced at large scale payment solutions for International Partners.
Are you ready to explore opportunities for your EV business? Please contact Maria Joukovitch.