Modern charging infrastructure incorporates not only hardware, i.e. chargers, but also software supporting its work. However, if you dig deeper, you will discover that the charging station networks cannot but go hand-in-hand with the terms, such as "mobile communication", "Internet", "online" etc. As far as this field is constantly developing, it is being updated with the new specific concepts. For instance, have you ever heard anything about EV roaming? This article will provide an insight into this topic.
Let us firstly clarify the meaning of the concept "roaming". It is familiar to many mobile phone or smartphone users. Roaming stands for the subscriber service outside the native cellular network. When you go abroad, it's all clear: when turning on your phone (smartphone), you are connected to the international roaming for the foreign mobile operators to help stay connected.
In other words, the user can easily make calls, send messages and surf Internet avoiding additional stress of buying a SIM card from a local mobile operator, subsequent registration, replenishing a new account etc. Sounds convenient, doesn't it? So, this is the way how EV roaming works - makes the lives of EV drivers much easier.
As you know, there are already hundreds of thousands of charging stations around the world. All of them belong to different owners. To charge their electric car, a user must be registered with the relevant company that serves this or that charging point. That is, when the user goes from point A to point B, they need to either stop at charging points served by a certain operator, or install and create accounts in many different mobile apps. Due to the fact that there may be queues at charging stations during peak hours, it is very unwise to limit yourself to one company.
The universal RFID cards were developed as an interim solution. They are issued, for instance, by automobile clubs or associations, but to receive it, you need to be their member for a certain period of time (predominantly for a year at least). These RFID cards that give you access to the chargers, can be registered via various mobile apps and then used everywhere. However, this solution is far from being comprehensive: the user still needs to install all these mobile app, add payment cards, and now RFID!
Charging tariffs constitute another problem. These tariffs are often very complex, as they rely on the amount of kWh used, the time spent on charging, the type of charging, and so on. In addition, some operators, such as Ionity, have contracts with companies, and prices may differ from the official ones. All this makes charging very difficult.
A dead end, you say? No, because that's where EV roaming comes in handy. The idea is that the user only needs to register with one company and install its application. As a result, they can recharge their car using chargers of any company and pay for it via the company they have the account with. In other words, EV charging roaming allows drivers to easily charge at stations regardless of the energy supplier, location, etc.
The EV roaming is similar to the mobile roaming. Its work is organized on a common IT platform shared by energy suppliers and owners of the charging points to jointly provide their services, so that the EV owners can have unrestricted access to charging. Technically, its work bases on the Open Charge Point Interface protocol (OCPI), a custom API or roaming hubs, such as Hubject etc. OCPI establishes a connection between E-mobility Service Providers (eMSP) and charging point operators (CPOs).
Among such IT platforms is GO TO-U mobile app that allows EV owners not only to use any charger, but also book it in a certain city for a certain time (this solves the queue problem).
With the help of GO TO-U platform, you can use all types of charging stations from various eMSPs and CPOs in one mobile app.
After installing the necessary mobile app (with EV roaming software), the user no longer needs to download dozens of mobile apps, sign up, add their bank card, order RFID cards, etc. Therefore, they have only one profile and one account in a single app using which the user can charge their EV at any charging point all over the globe. More precisely, the GO TO-U app can activate more than several thousand charging stations in Europe, America and Asia.
And it is pretty simple - just few taps on your smartphone screen. You only need to find the charger and connector - and the charging begins!
Thus, the EV roaming aims to simplify the charging experience as much as possible. Similarly to the owners of a gasoline-powered or diesel car who can stop by a gas station of any brand and refuel without any problems, the EV owner can drive to any charging station and easily recharge their car. And the price is fair enough (unless charging is free).