Providing ways to find charging stations is only a part of the solution for EV drivers – they also need convenient ways to pay to recharge.
Solving the challenge of electric vehicle (EV) charging station payments represents a lucrative business opportunity.
Each month, there are more electric vehicles (EVs) on highways. Although there is some debate about when the U.S. will see mass adoption, lower battery prices, increasing gasoline prices and road taxes, along with more affordable EVs may influence drivers toward making their next vehicle electric.
Two of the most common questions that consumers have before purchasing electric vehicles are how to charge them and what it will cost. It’s most common for drivers to charge their cars at home, either with a charger that uses a regular household outlet or a higher-power charger using a 240-volt outlet like a clothes dryer. EVs with adequate range can get a driver to work or a nearby destination and back home on a single charge, but longer trips will require charging away from home.
First, drivers will need to find a charging station. It’s been a challenge, but charging stations are becoming a more common fixture in parking lots, parking garages, along highways, and outside of stores and restaurants. But not all of them are free.
How EU handles EV charging station payments
In the EU, where electric vehicles are more common than in the U.S., many drivers use mobile wallets, credit cards or prepaid cards to cover EV charging station payment. This requires the charging station itself to have the ability to accept a payment. This is where contactless payments come into play. Their low cost and ease of implementation make them the first choice for these low cost EV charging payments. It also meets the requirement of many European countries where the driver must be able to pay at the charging station, with the need for a mobile device.
An emerging alternative solution, however, is payment via an EV charging station app. Charging station providers typically provide an app to help drivers find where they can charge their vehicles using their stations. Now, they are beginning to offer apps to allow them to pay. This “Uberfication” of the process provides greater convenience. Drivers don’t have to use their cards at the station, and there’s no need to worry if a prepaid account has enough funds – everything is managed through the app.
Price transparency is a significant hurdle to good EV charging station payment CX exists, however. It’s a challenging issue because as drivers move from region to region, taxes can vary, and the cost per kilowatt may change throughout the day. Some drivers don’t know what they’ve paid until they get a statement at the end of the month, and consumers who are accustomed to seeing the price of gasoline before fueling up won’t be comfortable with paying for EV charges without knowing the cost upfront. App developers who can leverage the right combination of APIs with up-to-date information may find an opportunity to grow their businesses serving this niche.
Businesses themselves may also find an opportunity to turn parking areas into revenue-generators by installing EV charging stations. It’s not necessary to only charge enough to cover costs – businesses can also make a profit. Besides, as U.S. EV adoption increases, consumers may begin to make purchasing decisions based on where they can charge their vehicles – and whether those charging stations are supported by convenient payment via an app.
The demand for convenient EV charging stations payment will increase. Will your business get in on the ground floor?