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Why is user friendly charging still a talkingpoint?

During EVS35 in Oslo, Mer attended one of the panel debates concerning User Friendly Fast Charging. Should this still be a talking point in 2022? The panel consisted of Elke Temme from ELLIE, Jeroen van Tilburg from Tesla, Oskar Svedenstedt from Recharge and our own CEO, Kristoffer Thoner.

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Ellen Hiep from the Dutch EV association was the moderator of this debate and could disclose that on her way to the EVS35 she had some difficulties traveling from the Netherlands to Norway. Creating the best solution for charging EV’s is on everyones priority list. And while the numbers of EV’s are rising, the demand for simple and suitable solutions follows. So – how can the industry ensure this going forward?

Don’t worry – fail happy

However, Ellen could also reveal that she had a very pleasant encounter with the Mer customer service when she drove through Sweden.

– And that is not a coincidence. We have a fail-happy principle in Mer, meaning that if you somehow encounter problems in our charging network – you can reach out to our customer service, and we will do our utmost to get you home, said Kristoffer Thoner, CEO of Mer.

And although there were consensus among the panel regarding what is important for the customers like availability, speed and price, Tesla shared some of their experience from their worldwide network recently being opened for non-Tesla drivers:

– There has been anticipating some difficulties in our network when we opened for non-Teslas. Of course there are some difficulties in the marriage between the charger and the cars. However, things are really going well and we have taken baby-steps to make sure we can handle it in a good way, said Jeroen van Tilburg from Tesla.

– We need to have the capacity and the confidence that our network can handle the extra capacity the non-Tesla requires. We urge the other charging operators to be bold and go bigger – Tesla is building for instance 10,8 posts per station on average, he said.

Are regulations needed?

So the next question that would be natural to ask and what has been discussed many times before – is wether or not regulation will make everything better for the customers.

– We have a major task at hand, and we have the revolution of mobility and energy in combination, creating an interesting challenge for us. I agree that we are lacking, is some sort of regulation. For instance what EU have done for charging cables for phones would be smart for the charging industry too, said Thoner.

However, the panel agreed that looking to the future is important, and the regulations and standardisations should stimulate rapid roll out of charging infrastructure and not slow it down:

– Having payment terminal for all chargers, will be a step back. For us with chargers from 2012, retrofitting the chargers for this purpose only would mean we would have to spend more time and money , instead of expanding the network. Regulations should favor us building more chargers – not slow us down, said Oskar Svedenstedt, CCO from Recharge.

– And we should not forget the importance of regulations in terms of making the charging stations accessible for everyone – including the disabled, said Thoner.

Together with Mer and the rest of the charging operators in Norway – Recharge has taken the initiative to go together as an industry and advise the authorities on what these regulations could look like.

Leading change

For quite some time, the debate on wether or not to install payment terminals on chargers have been frequently visited in especially Norway, and combined with the increasing requests from customers, Mer mobilised internally to develop a better customer journey.

– We took matter into our own hands and jump cut the discussion – and launched an phenomenon in Norway called Vipps. Every Norwegian have that payment method, said Thoner.

– The solution is available on our nationwide chargin network in Norway, and is so simple to use. If you don’t want to register as a customer, but want to charge on the go – you can use Vipps. And by the numbers of transactions conducted with Vipps, it has been a popular solution amongst our customers, said Thoner.