By David Peake, Chief Operating Officer, The Consultus International Group
By 2040, 67% of vehicles sold in Europe will be electric. In my previous blog, I explained how Consultus and its partners are deploying the next-generation charging networks needed to underpin this switch to electric vehicles (EVs): leading-edge platforms that provide real-time services and deliver a raft of benefits.
After a few false starts, EV is coming. This July, for example, it was reported that almost half of new cars sold in Norway in the first six months of 2019 were fully electric. This is up from just over a quarter in the same period last year. The Independent observed that “The sale of petrol-fuelled cars dropped by almost 30% in the same period, while the market share of hybrid cars also declined from 20% to about 11%.”
The International Energy Agency (IEA) had reported that 2018 was “another record-breaking year” for electric cars, with sales increasing by 68% globally. China was the world’s biggest market, followed by Europe and the US. The IEA also commented that “Progress in decarbonising the power sector will accelerate the CO2 emission reduction benefits of electric vehicles.” (https://www.iea.org/tcep/transport/electricvehicles/)
As UK companies increasingly electrify their company cars and other vehicle fleets, a growing number are also starting to install charging solutions at their offices, factories and other facilities. Their employees, customers and visitors are switching to electric in ever-rising numbers, encouraged by government and with the launch of more affordable and attractive EV models.
This is an increasingly connected world. 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) will change our lives forever. We’ll no longer live, work and travel to and from “cities” – they will be smart cities. As part of this new world, intelligent networks powered by leading-edge tech will connect EV charging points, delivering a wide range of benefits for their owners and operators, starting with the serious carbon reductions promised by EVs that will benefit our communities and society in general.
In fact, measurable benefits in multiple areas will be major and sustained. First, that huge drop in CO2 emissions, especially if you’re charging using electricity from renewable energy sources. Smart charging means organisations are better placed to comply with environmental legislation and achieve their sustainability goals in faster ways. This can help you “build your brand” as a green leader, to your customers, shareholders, the marketplace in general, and helping attract future employees.
Putting you in control
Other benefits flow from the fact these intelligent networks enable far greater visibility and control over your operations through real-time cloud services, together with optimised costs, improved productivity, and the ability to deliver an enhanced employee and customer experience. As you would expect, the charging points are compatible with 100% of EVs, and with any service provider you should be looking for 98% service uptime as a minimum.
In terms of control, you can easily customise who can charge their vehicles and set the prices that drivers pay to use charging stations, based on energy cost, duration, time of use, session length, driver group, and so on. Indeed, advanced access controls mean you can manage which drivers can access charging stations, and when.
You gain far greater visibility of vehicles and fleet activity, with proactive real-time monitoring and detailed reporting of energy consumption and costs, and the ability to change charging station policies quickly and easily. Numerous graphics and analytics are available at a click, summarising important trends for planning and reporting while you can dive deep into the detail as needed to scrutinise specific activity. A user-friendly dashboard shows real-time status and detailed mapping, making it easy to manage charging stations from your desk or on the move using your smartphone.
Smart features also mean you can deliver an excellent great user experience. For example, a “waitlist’ feature makes charging easier and more convenient by notifying drivers when a charging spot becomes available, and holding it for them. Information is communicated to users through an easy-to-use free app.
For owners and operators, power management software reduces station installation costs, lowers ongoing electricity costs and means you can charge more vehicles. And importantly, the technology is future-proofed, designed to last for 10-years-plus; you can install new charging points and rollout additional functionality without electrical upgrades.
As a world-class consulting partner for energy and utilities – named Most Trusted Consultancy (Large Customers) at the TELCA awards 2019 – Consultus is working in the vanguard of this critical area. My next blog will take a closer look at how the smart charging network will work, in terms of hardware, software, web portal, network services, monitoring and maintenance.