Complex EV charging market: Validating transactions matters

Electric cars charging on a street

Sprawling across dozens of legal jurisdictions, multiple currencies, and even the low-key complications of time zones: Europe’s nascent EV charging market is complicated.

The highly complex and fragmented markets in the European region are constantly trying to navigate rapidly changing technology and legal requirements to make the economics work. These efforts have resulted in a wildly variable infrastructure with respect to condition and quality. Meanwhile, there is a massive effort underway to provide interoperable payment solutions to electric vehicle (EV) drivers.

Roaming: Two sides of a coin

In a roaming transaction, there is an especially lengthy process for a transaction to be turned into a line item on a driver’s invoice. Considering the challenges mentioned earlier faced by both charge point operators (CPOs) and e-mobility service providers (EMSPs), there has never been a higher need for reliable billing engines with robust validation systems for both entities.

A driver uses a charging card or app provided by a service provider to start and pay for sessions on charge points owned by a third-party operator. Two transactions are happening here:

  1. A wholesale transaction between the CPO and the EMSP, and
  2. A retail transaction between the EMSP and the driver

These transactions require validation, or checks, from two different systems. These separate systems create a transaction, calculate the correct price, and validate the same before the invoice is sent to the EV driver.

Transaction 1: CPOs to go first

Firstly, the transaction requires validation from the CPO on:

  • Feasibility: Are all values related to dates, duration, energy, and power feasible?
  • Configuration: Are all elements, such as parties involved, agreements, and billing rules aligned to correctly calculate the final price?
  • Cost: If everything looks correct, is the final cost appropriate?

These checks may appear obvious at first glance, but a deeper analysis would show that a lot can go wrong with such transaction data, like:

  • Charge point is a time machine: The charge point clock isn’t functioning the way it should. The transaction start date reports the year 1970 or 2037, or something totally nonsensical.
  • Charge point is powering the entire neighborhood: The charge point is reporting its Wh consumption as kWh and a one-hour session has a volume of 8000 kWh.
  • Charge point is floating on the Pacific: The location of the charging point is undeniably a bit strange.
  • Charge point has a negative attitude: It is reporting a negative energy volume (without V2G capability), or a negative duration.

These are just a few examples of how data inputs or interpretation can go wrong, but there can be other unpredictable concerns. With appropriate validation checks, CPOs are satisfied that the transaction is correct and then forward it to the EMSP.

Transaction 2: Time for EMSPs

The second step is EMSPs perform their own validations. In general, these checks are the same as those of CPOs with a few additional ones:

  • Was there a roaming agreement in place between CPO and EMSP when the charge session was authorised?
  • Was a valid charge card used for the charging session (not expired, had balance, etc.)?
  • Did the CPO bill me fairly? Large deviations from the contractually agreed wholesale pricing can be flagged and disputed with the CPO.

A woman charging her car

A valid reason to validate

With more EVs on the roads, there are ultimately more drivers and more transactions taking place. Unclear or faulty invoices may lead to a lack of trust and transparency between the driver and the service provider.

To help CPOs and EMSPs, the GreenFlux transaction validation system performs over 200 checks designed around a deep analysis of millions of historical transactions.

The solution serves CPOs, EMSPs, and companies that function in both roles. With this system, users can:

  • Review flagged transactions
  • Receive advice on what action to take to resolve possible transaction issues
  • Decide whether to:
    • a) Accept the issue as is;
    • b) fix it and retry the calculation; or
    • c) Drop the transaction out of the invoicing cycle.

The GreenFlux system takes automated action to resolve an issue, which helps CPOs identify common problems or unreliable charge points. For scalable management, the user interface allows filtering and bulk actions. CPOs and EMSPs can operationalise transactions with the historical data present in the system. Lastly, the checks reduce the financial risk of unpaid invoices by partner EMSPs, or by drivers.

Read more on our Billing & Payment solutions