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Public charging: Everything you need to know about its stakeholders

A number of our Chargemap clients are understandably confused about certain aspects of public charging. When you attempt to get to grips with the public charging universe for the first time, the very newness of the players involved and their interlinking relationships can look complicated. To shed some light on the situation, let’s focus on the various stakeholders in the public charging ecosystem prevalent in Europe today.


Who are the stakeholders involved in public charging?

When you charge up at home, you must make sure your electrical energy contract is adapted to your usage and that your set-up can charge safely. When you charge your electric vehicle at a public charging station, it’s a whole new ball game, bringing in a network of energy suppliers and service providers. 

The main stakeholders in the public charging system

1. Charge point operators

Charge point operators (CPOs) quite simply correspond to the charging station networks to which you plug in your vehicle. They mostly consist of private companies and local authorities. 

The CPO owns the network and supervises the overall management of the charging stations and all the related technical aspects. The CPO may or may not decide to outsource this supervision to external service providers specialised in the field. 

2. Mobility service providers

Mobility service providers (MSPs) include carmakers, charging networks and innovative business enterprises. 

MSPs contribute to enhancing the roaming charging experience for EV drivers. To do this, they offer services such as apps, badges and other solutions making it easier to access and use charging stations.

This is where Chargemap comes in. Sometimes, new clients subscribing to our services think that Chargemap manages the Chargemap Pass compatible networks listed on the mobile app. In fact, what we do is link our services up to external charging networks to make them easier to access. 

And, of course, we give feedback on important issues to help improve the operational efficiency of charging for our users. When a charging station is out of order, Chargemap can put the client in contact with the network’s technical assistance, or send a notification directly to the network. However, we won’t become further involved in the charging station itself (for example restarting the charging station or freeing a driver’s cable). 

3. Roaming platforms 

Finally, the third and last set of players are roaming platforms. These structures act as intermediaries between the MSPs and the CPOs. In Europe, it is through stakeholders such as French-based GIREVE and German-based Hubject that Chargemap has set up roaming agreements with charging networks across the continent. 

Roaming platforms act as connection facilitators. However, a network and mobility service provider can link up their services directly (using an open protocol such as OCPI). Moreover, Chargemap has recently linked its services directly with the Nissan charging network and the historical partner network Freshmile.

How to access the EV public charging network 

Chargemap Pass Hand Izivia
Use of the Chargemap Pass on a public charging station

RFID badges are the most common solution. You might ask why this system is used rather than debit/credit cards. Well, the simple answer is that it is easier and cheaper to set up. An RFID reader can be found at virtually all charging stations today. 

Can you charge without a badge? Yes, but such charging points are few and far between. In the current market context, it is not a viable option today to depend on charging your EV with a bank card. One of the main obstacles is that it is expensive for the operator to set up and run a credit card terminal.

Some MSPs allow you to charge without having an actual badge by using a mobile app combined with NFC technology on your smartphone.

How are charging rates calculated?

Let us take an example of how Chargemap and a charging network work together. We make our service compatible with the charging network via a roaming platform such as Gireve. 

We are then bound by a contract that lays down the pricing terms in advance decided on by the CPO. As a mobility service provider, Chargemap applies the rate quoted in the contract and is then free to finance its services as it wishes.  

In all cases, the most important thing is always to check the rates practised by the mobility service provider you use each time you charge your vehicle. Indeed, rates can change over time and the terms of the contract can be modified as well. 

With Chargemap, the rates are simplified as far as possible, taking into account the limits imposed by the operator, so that you know exactly what you are paying for.

We hope that this article on charging stakeholders has cast some light on the charging ecosystem. Please do not hesitate to ask us any questions in the comments if certain aspects are still not clear enough. 

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Photo courtesy of Gareth Willey from Pexels

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