The transition to serve the needs of an EV consumer will involve many different stakeholders and will affect the downstream supply chain including supply and logistics, retail capabilities and, more importantly, consumer behavior. The pertinent question is, how will the oil refining industry, which built its infrastructure on hydrocarbon-based fuels, use that infrastructure for EVs? A radical shift in business models is the path forward. The pace of adoption can be accelerated by energy companies adopting one of several models to operationalize EV charging.
Typical EV Business Models
There are several models that oil and gas companies could adopt that would meet the growing demand for EV vehicle charging.
In the franchise model, an energy company provides charge point locations and third parties provide eMobility Services and charge point operations. This model provides a low entry barrier to the EV market but may not enable a company to reinforce its brand as an EV provider. However, the model can be used to start EV operations and then allow a company to scale up as capacity allows.
In the second model, an energy company can let other eMobility Service Provider (eMSP) clients use its chargers and provide roaming services via a hub or P2P contracts. In this model, the company can operate charge points or use third-party charge point locations. This model may be specifically effective for existing company-owned or dealer-operated (CODO) sites. A typical target segment for this model is B2B customers.
- Operator and full-service provider
One model is an energy company providing eMobility services as a white-label eMSP solution. As a charge point operator, they will own or operate charge point locations either directly or through third parties. The third-party locations can be municipality-owned, from retail locations or existing energy company gas stations.
In this model, the energy company can offer roaming services to its EV customers on third-party chargers, such as through a peer-to-peer (P2P) business arrangement. This model can be used by B2C customers who want to charge their electric vehicles and by B2B customers such as electric fleet owners and operators, for charging fleet vehicles.
Large energy companies whose operations are spread across different geographies may need to use different charge point providers across different countries. Using one single eMSP solution or its white-label eMSP solution across geographies to maintain its brand value can be challenging but could be the appropriate choice.
A Path Forward
The main challenge is efficient monetization of charge points by ensuring a high utilization factor, establishing a mechanism for smart pricing and facilitating reliability and uptime of chargers. A system for monitoring charge points would help enable these requirements.
Given the different stakeholders involved, the solution needs to effectively address stakeholders’ priorities. Several key design considerations address all stakeholder needs and provides a future-proofed charge point monitoring system (CPMS):
- The solution should be reliable, highly available, secure and a high-performance solution that can scale up on demand based on EV station additions in different cities or countries or across geographies
- The system should support the integration of different electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) on open charge point protocol (OCPP) 1.6/2.0 to allow different charge point providers from various original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)
- The infrastructure for electric mobility must satisfy the requirements of the grid and meet the needs of the people
- Drivers must be sure they can recharge their vehicles anywhere and payment for electricity must be uniform across all distribution points
- It should run with a low operating cost and without excessive manual intervention
A predictive asset maintenance strategy using remote diagnostics, safety checks, monitoring for remote self-healing and maintenance is a critical aspect to keep operation costs low. Large energy companies operating across countries or geographies will need a central ‘Network Operations Center’ to maintain geographically dispersed charge points from a central hub. This could be accomplished with the help of industrial IoT.
The Developing EV Charging Landscape
Adopting an EV charging landscape with different stakeholders involved in the ecosystem will be a complex journey. An energy company needs a strong foundation to permit any model to charge. The solution should enable quick deployment of charging infrastructure. It should bind multiple stakeholders together into one EV ecosystem with seamless integration of EV infrastructure and IT systems, that support the end-to-end business process.
EV capabilities will evolve significantly, both organically and inorganically. A well-designed CPMS should have the capability to expand and manage disparate devices with predictive maintenance and automated operations to be consistent and efficient. This will yield business benefits in device availability, reduced operational costs and will lay the groundwork for further growth.