Interoperability is key in electric mobility devlopment
Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) topped 400,000 in 2019 in Europe, a significant increase of 75.3% compared to 2018. In addition, electric vehicles continue to gain market shares over Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) vehicles, rising from 1.23% in 2018 to 2.14% in 2019.
Beyond the encouraging sales figures of electric vehicles (EVs), electromobility development requires two other components: a wide network of chargers and an easy access to charge services for the greatest number of people. The latter means providing miscellaneous information about charge points to users, hence: charger availability, the possibility to book a charger, clear pricing policies, status of ongoing charging sessions on your app and the payment means accepted at a charging station.
European governments and local authorities’ message about expanding charging infrastructure is quite clear. Nonetheless, the accessibility of such infrastructures still raises many questions. Users are experiencing difficulties when it comes to charging their EVs on public spaces. The available payment methods accepted is one of these difficulties. Indeed, payment by credit card is not always displayed on chargers in which case drivers will have to use an electric mobility card, distributed to them by e-Mobility Service Providers (eMSP). The struggle lies on the number of market players: currently 600 eMSP exist in Europe and are closely working with almost 1,000 Charge Point Operators (CPOs) which operate charging infrastructures. Moreover, information systems (IS) of each mobility card provider and charge point operator do not automatically communicate adding complexity to accessibility.
In this respect, interoperability is essential to enable communication between the existing systems. Interoperability can be reached when using common communication protocols, hence, the agreements signed between CPOs and eMSPs to facilitate EV users roaming. Drivers can then access different charging networks without having a multitude of mobility cards. To support CPOs and eMSPs setting up bilateral accords, roaming platforms such as GIREVE and e-clearing offer to manage the contractual and technical complexity of these connections enabling different players to share information through their own IS.
Interoperability is a major issue for a large-scale development of electric mobility. In this context, Total intends to play a significant role as Charge Point Operator. By signing partnerships with several eMSPs and roaming platforms, the company gives the opportunity to charge on Total’s publicly accessible network to as many EV drivers as possible. In addition, the Group is an eMSP for B2B customers through to the multi-energy Total card. Total signs agreements with other CPOs in Europe providing to Total card holders an access to a wide network of chargers (more than 100,000 charge points, in January 2020) through the European territory.