Electric vehicle chargers in the U.K. are set to graduate from purely physical products to connected “smart” ones thanks to new legislation. Starting June 30, 2022, the U.K. will require all new EV charge points – whether in homes or public – to include connectivity features that make it easier for charge point owners to efficiently manage their energy use.
Here’s what that means:
- All new home chargers in the U.K. will connect to the Internet and have the ability to monitor usage. Electricity suppliers will get greater visibility into demands on the grid so they can better manage capacity and investments into infrastructure. EV owners will get more control over their chargers via a smartphone app.
- New home chargers will be pre-set to charge during off-peak hours to encourage system owners to charge when the load on the grid is lowest. This also saves the system owner money.
- New home chargers will automatically stagger charging sessions across entire fleets, so not everyone is charging at the same time.
- All smart EV chargers will also have to be compliant with data privacy and security laws that require encryption of user data and give system owners more control over what data gets stored.
Many EV charging manufacturers have already started building connected solutions, but others are having to quickly figure out how to build this functionality into their new products before the regulations take effect.
We asked four experts from Particle to share what this means for the EV charging industry, how IoT gives EV charger manufacturers a means of managing regulatory compliance and driving additional customer value, and how to navigate the tactical considerations of adding connectivity to EV chargers.
Jon Vass – Managing Director
With the incentive to switch from fossil fuel to electric-powered vehicles now gaining significant momentum, it’s imperative that power network loads are managed in order for the U.K.’s infrastructure to successfully support this.
Secure and reliable connectivity is the key to ensuring EV chargers can be connected 24/7, and can be used to draw power from the grid during off-peak periods, thus balancing the demand and avoiding tariffs. Connectivity will also allow manufacturers to be closer to their endpoints and better understand usage. It will give them access to customer data that the end user can use to better understand their charging habits and for regulators to track progress against clean energy adoption milestones.
Connectivity issues – caused largely by the global silicon shortage – have so far plagued many EV charger manufacturers, resulting in customer support lines ringing off the hook. With this new legislation coming into effect, it’s more important than ever for the EV charging players to select a credible technology partner as they scale.
Lauren Lund – VP of Marketing
It’s crucial for EV charging manufacturers to keep up-to-date on changing regulations, as we will likely see continuous updates, especially in this dynamic and constrained energy market.
Beyond the regulatory side of things, there are significant business benefits to adopting connectivity into EV chargers. As manufacturers are able to engage in real-time with their customers over connected devices, they’re going to have the opportunity to create better customer experiences, more responsive and tailored delivery models, and glean insights that will help them design innovative products more quickly, based on customer feedback and usage data.
Connectivity, facilitated by an IoT solution, can enable bi-directional communication with an endpoint charger. Not only can you monitor and measure (ie, “listen”), but manufacturers can also “speak” to devices by sending over-the-air updates (OTA) when needed. This allows them to update firmware, change monitoring thresholds, and make other critical software changes in a dynamic environment.
To continue to get to market as quickly as possible, we’d recommend manufacturers partner with an integrated IoT solution, from a partner who can deliver connectivity out-of-the-box, with minimal disruption to current designs.
A dedicated IoT partner can manage much of the complexity of maintaining connectivity standards/compliance/security away and allow manufacturers to focus on differentiation and go-to-market motions.
Paddy Gogin – Enterprise Account Executive
With EV sales soaring across the U.K. & Europe, the need for reliable and secure charging infrastructure should be at the forefront of the manufacturer’s minds. The switch to EVs and renewable energy sources is unavoidable, and those future proof their products are those who will win.
Being ‘ready’ will be everything for EV charging manufacturers to ensure they are in a position to retain and grow their customer base. This Smart Charge Points legislation is the catalyst to ensuring that the EV Charging organisations adopt a customer-centric approach and ensure their products can be reliably and securely connected.
Manufacturers will need to be looking at proven technology partners when deciding on the embedded solutions to make these chargers “smart.” Not only does this ensure the product will be reliable and secure, but it also provides lucrative opportunities for the EV manufacturers in getting better insight onto their customer’s behaviours and usage while aiding innovation their services and revenue streams. A win-win.
Nathan Wang – Enterprise Account Executive
It’s easy for manufacturers to see new regulations as a burden put upon them by government agencies, but the people taking that line of thinking are missing the opportunities that lie within them.
Look at it in the same way that businesses handled the COVID-19 pandemic, transitioning from brick-and-mortar/physical products to digital and connected experiences. Over the last two years, the businesses that could quickly adapt to the circumstances are the ones that are positioned to rapidly scale.
These regulations mean that EV charging manufacturers really have to focus on the connected customer experience. Before, they only had to think about the experience of a physical product. Now, they have to think about building strong digital experiences. What differentiation can they create in the application layer for the end user?
Will consumers be able to get charging data and see how their smart chargers are helping them charge their vehicles at the lowest possible cost? Does it show how the user is saving money and energy compared to historical usage? EV owners are making a lifestyle and value-based purchasing decision – this is just some of what they care about.
It’s not just about the end customer. Think about the value connected EV chargers will have across the value chain. As an EV charging manufacturer, how can a smart charging solution help service and distribution networks find value in connected solutions? With preventative maintenance? With additional service offerings that drive recurring revenue?
To win, EV charging manufacturers need to find trusted partners that allow them to focus on differentiating their products. An IoT partner can focus on building the infrastructure that facilitates connectivity but doesn’t really differentiate the manufacturer. With regulations coming into effect soon, and market leaders making fast pivots to connected chargers, it will be imperative to find a technology partner that can help you get to market sooner rather than later.
Building Smart EV Charge Points
Across the energy industry, incumbents and startups are looking for ways to deploy smart energy solutions faster and with greater differentiation.
For EV charging manufacturers that want to not only stay compliant with changing regulations but also differentiate themselves and avoid becoming a commodity, finding a partner that can help you solve difficult connectivity challenges and get to market faster will be essential.
Contact Particle to learn how we can help you get started.