Though the amount of public charging stations across the country has grown sharply over the past year – increasing more in 2022 than in the prior three years combined – driver satisfaction with charging infrastructure has dropped significantly over the same time period. From long wait times to high costs, there are many hurdles that must be overcome to accelerate widespread EV adoption.
Specifically, as the EV market has grown, it’s become increasingly fragmented and, as a result, difficult to navigate. With its wide range of stakeholders with distinct business needs to the increasing variety of charging hardware that runs on differing software, a lack of compatibility across the ecosystem often leaves drivers unsure where they can reliably charge their vehicles – what has come to be known as “EV range anxiety” – or having to toggle between multiple applications just to refuel.
How eRoaming Works
We can overcome much of these frustrations by improving interoperability and roaming capabilities throughout charging infrastructure. The concept of EV roaming, also referred to as eRoaming, opens customer access to an almost endless number of chargers. Similar to the use of roaming on a cellular network, eRoaming allows drivers to charge at another service provider’s charging station and have the charging transaction integrated with their normal method of payment. We’ve seen the success of eRoaming in supporting tremendous EV growth throughout Europe – where roaming has been the norm in countries like the Netherlands and Norway for the past decade – and it’s time we did the same in the U.S.
However, delivering EV roaming is an incredibly complex process, involving negotiated service and clearing agreements, comprehensive communications standards, various protocols, and support of multiple languages, currencies, tax rates, and regulations. Its successful deployment depends on eMobility providers (eMSPs) and charge point operators (CPOs) – traditionally separate players in the e-Mobility ecosystem – working together to share their capabilities through either a peer-to-peer Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI) protocol or leveraging a roaming hub, such as Hubject, GIREVE, or e-clearing.net.
What’s more, to enable true interoperability, EV charging management platforms must be compatible with all roaming hubs and support OCPI-based roaming, providing a scalable, live, and automated EV roaming setup between eMSPs and CPOs. At EVolve, a subsidiary of Vontier Corporation, our integrated smart energy management platform allows us to manage hundreds of thousands of EV chargers on roaming networks. From customer-facing tools that streamline the eRoaming experience for drivers to back-end technology that authorizes charging sessions, reconciles transitions between CPOs and eMSPs, and shares charge point data, our platform equips EV charging networks, OEMs, and other e-Mobility partners with a backward-compatible solution to easily deliver eRoaming and create a more reliable and convenient EV charging experience for customers.
All e-Mobility Players Will Benefit
Although a complicated landscape, what’s clear is that achieving widespread eRoaming will take the investment, collaboration, and cooperation of the entire industry. And despite differing business needs, this is an issue that all e-Mobility players stand to benefit from. Not only is improving roaming capabilities key to unleashing the true power of electrification – elevating outcomes for all corners of the ecosystem – but it will bring increased use to the charging points of CPOs and foster further brand recognition and loyalty for eMSPs, creating greater streams of revenue for both.
As we consider our goals for the years to come across the EV ecosystem, let’s all prioritize working together to enable eRoaming and increase interoperability to realize the full potential of the EV transformation.
Andrew Bennett is the CEO of EVolve, a Vontier company