Reimagining vehicle charging

Reimagining vehicle charging

ABB, the global leader in EV charging infrastructure (EVCI), has streamlined its connected cloud services in this area. The company’s new Asset solution enables EV charging infrastructure operators to optimize their processes and reduce operational costs based on real-time, data-based insights. Its Styling solution, on the other hand, is designed to bring brands to life on the EV charger display through a flexible, easy-to-use and remotely controlled solution.

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Martijn Hanegraaf ABB E-mobility Delft, Netherlands, martijn.hanegraaf@nl.abb.com

More and more electric cars are rolling off production lines. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), a decade of growth has already produced more than 10 million electric cars. Furthermore, experts predict an annual average growth rate of nearly 30 percent, and EV sales reaching almost 15 million by 2025. Indeed, according to a study by Roland Berger that was commissioned by ABB, by 2030 there will probably be about 140 million EVs in circulation →01.

01 Global electric vehicle stock by region [1].
01 Global electric vehicle stock by region [1].

Growing hand in hand with the population of electric cars is the need for a supporting EV charging infrastructure. As of 2021, there were 1.8 million chargers around the world →02 [1].

02 Estimated worldwide charger sales volume and revenues 2021 – 2030. UHPC: Ultra High Power Charging. HPC: High Power Charging [2].
02 Estimated worldwide charger sales volume and revenues 2021 – 2030. UHPC: Ultra High Power Charging. HPC: High Power Charging [2].

As EVs have grown in popularity, OEMs and charging network operators have, until now, assumed that their goal was to make the charging process as comparable to fueling an internal combustion engine vehicle as possible. But today, given the level of innovation in the charging field, the industry is asking: is that objective ambitious enough? With extensive digital capabilities, the EV charging stations of today and those of the future can and will not only outperform the traditional fueling experience for drivers but will also support greater efficiency and be more cost effective for the charger operator.

Redefining web solutions
As the global leader in EV charging infrastructure (EVCI), ABB is at the very heart of this digital charging revolution. Committed to continual innovation of its hardware and software solutions, ABB has redeveloped its connected services →03 for EVCI. The new offering, which launched globally in April 2022, has been specifically designed with customer feedback in mind to create a simplified, more flexible and more cost-effective range of web solutions.

03 ABB has redeveloped its connected services for EV charging infrastructures for charge point operators (CPO) and e-mobility service providers (eMSP).
03 ABB has redeveloped its connected services for EV charging infrastructures for charge point operators (CPO) and e-mobility service providers (eMSP).

The previous offering from ABB for its portfolio of DC chargers included four separate web solutions:
• Driver Care – for non-commercial charger networks to monitor and operate their chargers
• Charger Care – an extended service solution for experienced charge point operators to gain insights into charger operations with the ability to diagnose and troubleshoot hardware issues and streamline their service operations
• Case management – a functionality provided with Driver Care and Charger Care to request ABB Service support
• Payment – a functionality that enables charge point operators and/or e-mobility service providers to commercialize their charger network via payment terminal devices to generate additional revenue by opening up the charger network to non-members

While retaining many of the popular features of the above-outlined web solution range, the new modular offering →04, which is part of the ABB Ability™ portfolio of connected solutions, has been streamlined to include two main cloud services: ABB Asset and ABB Styling. Both are based on SaaS pricing policy standards and will include tiers of functionality with varying monthly fees and optional ‘add-ons’ to maximize value for customers. Below is an outline of the new offering’s key customer benefits.

04 The ABB Ability™ portfolio of connected solutions has been expanded to include two main cloud services for EV charging: ABB Asset and ABB Styling.
04 The ABB Ability™ portfolio of connected solutions has been expanded to include two main cloud services for EV charging: ABB Asset and ABB Styling.

ABB Asset
ABB Asset enables EV charging infrastructure operators to optimize their processes and reduce operational costs based on real-time, data-based insights. Its flexible three-tier offering (Essentials, Professional and Enterprise) allows customers to select exactly the capabilities their operation needs.

Insights into charging patterns, cost predictions, and opportunities to optimize charging networks are examples of ABB Asset’s available features that do not require investment in an external operations management software platform. Furthermore, even more efficient servicing and higher system availability can be achieved with remote troubleshooting. What is more, with the Essential tier, charger monitoring and charging session monitoring are included in the hardware purchase, with the option to easily upgrade to higher tiers or add-ons as required.

Ultimately, ABB Asset will help its customers build trust and loyalty through increased uptime and reduced operational costs, while improving profitability and the predictability of expected revenue.

ABB Styling
Meanwhile, ABB’s Styling solution will launch with a professional tier supporting e-mobility service providers. This will enable providers to build customer loyalty by creating a distinctive brand experience at the charger. The web solution’s unrivalled flexibility brings brands to life on the EV charger display and creates unique advertisement capabilities and brand experiences, further maximizing opportunities for revenue generation.

Different styling sets to suit different site locations can be designed and deployed via an easy customization and update process. The end result is a flexible, easy-to-use and remotely controlled solution that gives ABB’s customers full control over their charger branding. This will not only enable them to strengthen customer engagement and retention but also to improve profitability to help develop a sustainable business for the future. Looking ahead, additional tiers will be added to the HMI styling solution to further maximize flexibility for the customer.

Optional add-ons
With maximum flexibility for the customer in mind, optional upgrades have been created to supplement the two main services. Both ABB Asset and ABB Styling can be upgraded with a User Management add-on, enabling users to be added to the portal. In addition, customers can use the Charger Group Management add-on to group the management of chargers through the ABB Asset and ABB Styling solutions, for example by restricting access rights across certain groups of chargers.

ABB Asset customers can also benefit from the following extra upgrades:
• Alerts (available through all tiers), which send notifications for a number of pre-configured criteria
• Card Payment Analysis (available through all tiers), which provides additional insight into revenue generated from charger payment terminals
• Charging Authorization (available through all tiers), which allows the authorization of charge sessions via RFID or PIN
• Reporting (available on the Professional and Enterprise tiers), which provides visibility into operational history

The era of digital transformation necessitates change and innovation across many walks of life. Transportation is no exception. As the world increasingly embraces new forms of mobility, the automobile industry and related OEMs not only have an opportunity to transform the driving experience but a full range of related experiences, such as EV charging.

Driver expectations are undoubtedly higher than they have ever been before. But with intelligent and connected solutions such as ABB Asset and ABB Styling, the ability of charge point operators and e-mobility service providers to both meet and exceed those expectations is already at hand. ABB is committed to supporting its e-mobility customers on the road to digitization by developing technologies that have the power to drive a new and elevated customer experience for all. 

References
[1&2] Roland Berger. E-mobility market study commissioned for ABB. November 6, 2021.
Photo: ©TheSupporter/stock.adobe.com

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