There are two main roles in the EV charging industry: charge point operator (CPO) and e-mobility service provider (EMSP). Broadly speaking, CPOs install and maintain charging hardware, e-mobility service provider enter into contracts with EV drivers for charging subscriptions.
However, both of these roles increasingly begin to overlap as the EV market matures and key players expand their business models.
Nonetheless, the main focus of EMSPs is to make EV charging easier for drivers. To accomplish this, they:
- Give drivers access to a large network of charge stations – usually via a single charge card or app. This allows EMSPs to standardise transactions and make billing and payments as easy as possible for the driver.
- Improve the driver experience – EMSPs can differentiate themselves through add-on features, like roaming and personalised charging recommendations. They may also bundle valuable services such as emergency roadside assistance, discounts for shopping and a subscription card for EV charging into a single package offering that encourages customer loyalty.
Providing charge point data to drivers
EMSPs will share charge station data with drivers in real-time. This data typically includes the availability status (free/occupied/out-of-service), charge station type (AC/DC and supported plug types), pricing model, and the expected charge time.
Mobility service providers may also disclose what proportion of energy comes from renewable sources and share more advanced data points to help drivers pick the best charge station for their needs.
Transparent data can improve customer experience by preventing vehicle owners from driving to a charge station only to find out that it is not operational. Up-to-date records also allow drivers to find new charge stations quickly and access a broad range of services across the EMSP network.
Charge card provisioning
Mobility service providers can offer their own charge cards to improve the charging process and speed up payments. Charge cards also allow drivers to secure cheaper rates at charge points from operators with which the EMSP has secured agreements.
Management and expansion of roaming networks
To increase the number of charge stations available through their network, mobility service providers can enter into roaming agreements. They may connect directly with a single charge point operator via a peer-to-peer connection or join roaming hubs like Hubject, Gireve and e-clearing to build relationships with many CPOs quickly.
The main benefit of these roaming networks is that drivers can access a large number of charge stations at pre-determined rates, which are usually cheaper than those for ad-hoc charging.
End-user billing and invoicing
Apart from negotiating contracts with charge point operators and roaming hubs, mobility service providers can also decide on a pricing model for their drivers. Usually, they charge a mark-up of the base price model from charge point operator and simplify complex tariff structures to accommodate the driver.
An easy tariff structure helps build driver confidence in the EMSP and the added transparency allows drivers to select the best charging plan for their needs.
Based on the usage information supplied by charge point operators, the EMSP will invoice their drivers according to the contractually agreed terms. They also provide charging information to the EV driver in the case of ad-hoc charging.
To find out more about key players in the EV industry, also check out our post about the roles and responsibilities of a charge point operator.