As the adoption of electric vehicles accelerates around the world, EV charging station “software management platforms” have emerged as a critical tool, both for grid & user management. Power utilities are deploying these platforms for better data management at the backend as well as at customer interfaces. Along with utilities, charging network operators & technology providers have been working towards improving these platforms to make them more efficient, affordable & upgradable.
As the industry works towards addressing the challenges related to interoperability and non-uniform charging standards, new solutions such as Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) are also being explored.
With EV charging software, there is often a gap in understanding the expectations of customers & software providers. Since EV charging and software networks are still relatively recent technologies, EV customers are often divided into two extremes: those who are hesitant towards technology and those who want a cutting-edge, high-tech experience.
There will be customers who are only looking for a credit card reader and an operational charger. They don’t want or need a buffet of options & services many software platforms provide. Then there are other customers who are searching for something sophisticated and always welcome new tech.
Software companies will continue to develop more advanced solutions to meet complex customer demands. As the market continues to mature, customers who value software will create larger demand.
When it comes to aspects like scale (number of customers served & geographic area) and priorities (sustainability goals & profitability), every utility is different. What many utilities might not realize is how software options & features can benefit them as they expand into EV. Utilities are also in a unique position to educate their customers about software adoption for EV infrastructure.
As Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) becomes more prevalent and realistic in the near term, we predict partnerships between utilities and software providers to become more important than ever before.
Basic options, which involve just the infrastructure & software, so your chargers can communicate with one another and your customers can make payments, are available for little to no cost. At a higher price point, there are custom software interoperability packages that provide solutions with a higher level of service. Some packages also include operations and maintenance (O&M), so when your charger stops working, you have a partner to help troubleshoot. As chargers continue to be deployed, we are seeing operations and maintenance becoming a more standard developer request.
EV software requirements and funding are important drivers for where the software industry will go next. Policy changes create ripple effects in this industry. This was experienced when Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) was adopted. As a result, more offerings & options were introduced and new providers joined the market.
As more chargers & vehicles are rolled out, data will likely become a huge growth area & catalyst for EV software development. In order to reduce cost and improve access to the ever-expanding EV infrastructure, as well as to speed up the deployment process, the industry needs to take a more data-driven approach.
Any advanced software should allow the users to identify a suitable area, socioeconomic demographics, transportation statistics & existing infrastructure. Additional widgets can improve the experience by analyzing the data.
The software should streamline the deployment of public charging points by centralizing geospatial data into one accessible place. Through a digital dashboard, the software should lead to a reduced need for site visits & time-consuming data analysis.
The intended audience for such software includes state governments, utility companies, policymakers, EVSE manufacturers, etc.
Kazam’s CMS platform inculcates most of the features needed in a complete charging management software package. The features are shown in the image below. It supports interoperability between mobility service providers supported by OCPI. Your customized charging point can be linked to Kazam’s platform very easily. The Kazam API platform assists in creating a custom mobile app or integrating it into an existing mobile app.
The software powering the charging stations should never be overlooked.
Electric vehicle infrastructure is a subject that is constantly in news these days. As the industry continues to evolve, utilities and charging network operators need to be prepared for the future of EV charging management software & platforms.
Many innovations are happening around software solutions and we are yet to see the best version of it as it's still in an evolving phase.