EV Charging roaming, or shortly eRoaming, enables EV drivers to charge at (almost) any charging station with just one customer account managed by their preferred Electro Mobility service provider (EMSP).
EV Charging roaming or eRoaming is a partnership between different Charge point operators (CPO) and Electric mobility service providers (EMSP) to provide EV drivers with the optimal universal charging service by creating a roaming EV Charging network.
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For the expansion of e-mobility to succeed, enough charging stations must be available. The number of charging stations is growing, but they belong to different EV charging networks and are operated by different Charge point operators.
If we want to enable a good user experience for EV drivers, they must be able to charge in various EV networks without problems or extra cost.
What is EV Charging Roaming?
If you have ever gone to a foreign country, you have experienced what mobile phone roaming means.
Roaming is a wireless telecommunication term typically used with mobile devices. Roaming occurs when you use the service in another telecommunications provider’s network.
EV Charging roaming, sometimes referred to as roaming, is the same. In eRoaming, different CPOs offer EV drivers the optimal universal charging service. They do this by opening up their EV charging infrastructure for clients registered in other EV Charging networks.
The concept of EV Charging Roaming enables EV users to use any EV charging station in any country, whether they are clients of that provider or not.
Like your mobile phone automatically connects to a local network in a foreign country, your vehicle can connect to any charging station, regardless of who is operating them.
Eroaming is a major EV charging trend in the e-mobility movement.
How does EV Charging Roaming work?
From the user’s point of view, charging while using EV roaming is simple.
The user has aEv Charging mobile app from his selected EMSP connected to his account. In that app, he searches for charging stations nearby that are free or offer good charging tariffs.
Then, he chooses the most convenient one for him at that moment. He selects how much he wants to charge and monitors charging from his app.
After charging, the charging cost is charged to his credit card or added to his account balance. In most cases, he is billed once a month.
The process is called EV Billing and it’s an important part of EV Charging software all CPOs use.
For Charge point operators and Electro mobility service providers, it’s a little bit trickier. They must partner with other networks’ CPOs to enable charging in other networks or vice versa. At a minimum, they at least must have compatible EV Charging management software and various data sharing.
Not to go too much into technical details, but there is a lot of data shared between providers. It involves sharing station data, authorizing charging sessions, making a debit to the user’s account, and much more.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) EV Roaming
If two CPOs or EMSPs decide to enter a partnership in EV Charging roaming, they will use peer-to-peer communication over Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI) protocol. OCPI protocol allows bilateral connection and data exchange between EV and charging stations through a single API, and it shares real-time information with users.
This option is good because the two parties involved can negotiate and agree on all technical and financial aspects of the partnership. The downside is that the negotiations can take a lot of time, and the technical implementation can be challenging and costly.
So this method is suitable for strategic partnerships but very hard to make if you want to have eRoaming with multiple EV charging networks.
EV Roaming with eRoaming networks
With so many charging networks worldwide, it would be practically impossible for CPOs or EMSPs to establish partnerships with every other charging network provider, agree on financial terms and sort out the technical implementation.
Luckily, EV charging networks or eRoaming hubs like Hubject have harmonized “rules” for technical integration and EV charging business models.
If a Charge point operator (CPO) or Electric mobility service provider (EMSP) joins an eRoaming network, his users immediately get access to all EV charging networks that are also members.
So the providers don’t need any lengthy one-on-one negotiations. They can start EV Charging roaming almost immediately.
There are some disadvantages, however. By joining an eRoaming hub, the provider agrees to “play by their rules.”
That means they lose much control regarding what protocols to use and what business models they can offer for EV Charging roaming. And yes, eRoaming hubs will typically charge a fee for their services.
Why is eRoaming important?
Every Electric mobility service provider (EMSP) or EV Charging network uses its own EC Charging software, mobile app, and web portal. He will advertise his services, get customers and implement different EV Charging business models to monetize on EV Charging.
When an EV driver signs up with an EMSP he can choose different charging pricing plans and subscriptions. Additional, his EMSP can offer special packages like VIP priority charging. He can join loyalty programs and earn points or get discounts. On top of that, he can select different payment plans and monitor his usage and other data from the mobile app.
The driver can plan routes and find charging stations on the same app. When charging his EV, he can do it easily from his mobile app.
That works great, as long as the user charges his EV on charging stations belonging to that EV charging network.
But no EMSP has enough charge points to cover all areas. So as soon as an EV driver wants to charge elsewhere, his app is useless.
He needs to identify with a credit card or RDIF card. Also, frequently he needs to download another app to manage the charging process.
With many different charging networks everywhere, charging presents a challenge.
That annoys EV users and creates a great problem for the overall customer experience with electric vehicles.
EV Charging Roaming removes that problem and enables users to charge anywhere like they do in their selected charging network.
If we want to see electric cars become the future of transportation, EV Charging roaming is a must.
Benefits of eRoaming?
With eRoaming, using other charging networks will no longer cause headaches to EV users.
The benefits of EV Charging Roaming include:
- Providing excellent customer experience regardless of operator, charging systems, or national frontiers
- Giving access to many charge points
- Increasing charging options for those that can’t charge at home
- Eliminating the range anxiety drivers feel when leaving their comfort zone (their area)
- Enabling providers to reach more distant markets
- Providing relevant real-time information regarding the location, availability, prices, and tariffs of charging stations
EV Roaming also benefits Charge point operators and Electric mobility service providers. With eRoaming they can profit from EV Charging and the expansion of the EV market directly and increase the number of EV drivers charging at their charge stations.
As electric cars sales continue to increase rapidly, EV roaming ensures that charging service providers can handle the ongoing electric car expansion.
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