With the rapid adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) across Europe, charge point operators (CPOs) strive to optimise operational efficiency. Amid increasing competition, CPOs want to differentiate their offerings and have a professional back-end platform to best serve their customers. Also, the e-mobility industry is consolidating through acquisitions and mergers making EV charging platform migrations increasingly common for market-leading CPOs.
According to Accenture, the operational efficiency of charge stations depends on a combination of hardware, telecom, and software. The consulting firm further states a platform is extremely crucial for CPOs as it helps keep charge stations functioning, remotely resolves errors, and handles all the transactions involving massive data.
Are you a CPO and contemplating platform charge station management system (CSMS) migration? Do keep the following factors in mind:
Details matter: Make sure your new platform keys in all the necessary details of your network of charge stations – where they are and in what state they are in (such as operational or non-operational), what brands and models, and on which OCPP version they run. Obvious as it may sound, this capability will provide essential data that will be leveraged for effective troubleshooting and automating workflows, which in the end saves your team tons of work.
Hardware-agnostic: Technology, communication protocols, and hardware are constantly developing in the fast-paced e-mobility space. Your preferred hardware supplier today may be gone tomorrow. Protect your investment by making sure your new platform supports charge stations of different makes and models. Don’t forget to double check that the platform supports all OCPP versions and plans to continue doing so in the future.
Integrate with all telecom providers: Connectivity is important in a CSMS migration. The most common way of connecting charge stations to a back-end system is via a SIM card. Physically replacing every SIM card at each charge station is an expensive and labour-intensive task. If your new vendor integrates with all telecom providers, making connections will be much more cost-effective and efficient as physical visits can be avoided.
Migration tools: If you have thousands of charge stations in your network, it may take weeks or months to register each one by one on your new platform. Look for a vendor that can support station onboarding with bulk operational tools and import all stations to the new platform in one go.
Once charge stations are registered, you will have to make sure they are functioning. To maintain operational efficiency you will need constant, remote monitoring of your network. With appropriate tools in place, you can detect errors and check functionality with little effort.
Download here: How GreenFlux (un)complicated typical migration challenges
Experience and expertise: Beyond the basic factors, reflect on the experience and expertise of the new vendor. Confirm the platform provider has expertise in scripts and data mapping. Data can be huge, messy, and complicated, often due to a different use of terminology. This is when the migration experience of your new vendor will come in handy. If experienced, the SaaS provider will be able to adjust to unforeseen circumstances quickly and make for a smooth transition.
Efficient project management: Migration requires a communication triangle between the old platform, CPO, and the new platform. Pick a platform provider known for its team of experts to efficiently handle this cooperation and coordination. Verify whether its employees are trained to handle the latest technologies, flexible to adjust, and committed to making migration a success.
Additionally, ensure to keep the EV drivers’ comfort in mind and offer them clear communication. Your new vendor can help by conducting the migration in a phased manner wherein the entire network is not offline at the same time. Or they can plan the migration during off-peak hours causing minimum to no discomfort to EV drivers.
Security-integrated design: Data security is a major challenge during migrations. Switching platforms involve different players and a lot of data exchanged between older platforms, new platforms, CPOs, SIM card providers, and others in the long chain of communication. This makes migrations prone to security breaches.
Make sure the new platform incorporates a security-integrated design. This will be stress-free if you choose an ISO 27001-certified platform. An ISO-27001 certification signifies the vendor is a responsible entity and will meet all your data security requirements.
Read: Why does GreenFlux care about EV charging infrastructure security?
The migration magic!
With the e-mobility market rapidly maturing, choosing an EV management platform goes beyond the visible solution it offers. Migrations require a lot of integration testing, customised paths, and at times creating entirely different channels to optimise communication for various charge point configurations.
For a CPO, it is important to consider the tools, techniques, and most importantly expertise of the new SaaS provider before making the switch. You don’t change platforms every day, make the switch a wise one!
Checklist to help you smoothly migrate to an efficient new platform
Is the new platform?
- Scalable and future-proof, to support the growth of your network without any limitations
- Compatible with all current and legacy versions of OCPP
- Built with security as a core pillar
- Able to meet all your key business requirements
Does the platform provider?
- Has an experienced team to migrate charging station networks
- Has proven expertise in data integration, both standardised and customised
- Show proficiency in writing scripts and algorithms
- Facilitate smooth communication between all parties
- Efficiently manages projects