State of EV charging in Europe vs the United States
In order to understand the differences between EV charging management systems in Europe and the US, it is worth to explore the current state of the EV market in both locations.
According to research, numbers don’t lie – Europe has a leading status when it comes to EV infrastructure and the demand for EV charging. Looking at the first half of 2021, Europe was expected to account for the highest share of new electric vehicles registrations (1.06 million new registrations), whereas the United States was expected to have only 297 000 new electric cars registrations. This data shows the huge gap between those countries when it comes to electric cars infrastructure. The reason behind the accelerating number of EV registrations in Europe can be European governments’ legislation that stimulates the growth of charging network.
Even though many EV companies are actually from America, the US is still lagging behind Europe in terms of EV charging experience. Europe is expected to reach 1.3 million public EV chargers by 2025, whereas the current number of US public EV charging stations is nearly 43,000. In Europe, charging stations are located mostly all over the continent in order to enable electric vehicle users to charge almost anywhere. In the US in contrast, chargers are distributed unevenly across the country. What’s more, the vast majority of chargers available in the US are Level 2 chargers, whereas Europe already replaces them for rapid. fast and ultra fast chargers.
Charging stations management disparities
In Europe, EV drivers need to carry around their own charging cable in the car, because charging stations don’t provide them. Every time a customer wants to charge his electric vehicle, he/she has to be prepared and plug his/her charging cable into a charging station. Of course, it comes with the risk that a charging cable might be stolen or a driver may accidentally forget to take it with him.
In the US, this problem doesn’t exist because charging stations have their own attached charging cable. Thus, it makes the EV drivers’ life easier – they can charge their cars whenever they feel like it. However, for station owners, having an attached charging cable means that they have an additional component to manage. Therefore, being a station owner in the US requires investing in a complex charging station management system, which will help charge point operators maintain all the assets. In this case, it could prevent the owner from damaging the cable that has been left on the ground by the driver.
An important part of every charging cable is its connector. Which connectors are usually used in Europe and the US?
If it comes to AC charging, the standard plug for all American vehicles is the J1772, which is often called J-plug or Type 1. However, the main disadvantage of this plug is that it allows using only one charging phase. Type 1 was also used by European cars but was then replaced by a more efficient solution – Type 2 plug, which quickly became the new European standard. Fortunately, both types of plugs (Type 1 and Type 2) use the same J1772 signaling protocol in order to communicate. Thus, car manufacturers can make electric vehicles in the same way and only install the type of plug that is suitable for the market where the car will be sold.
EV market offers also DC connectors that are designed for DC charging. It enables drivers to charge their cars significantly faster than AC charging and reduces the time of the charging session. The perfect solution for fast DC charging is a combined charging system (CSS) that consists of the original plugs (Type 1 or Type 2) and two more pins added at the bottom of the plugs. However, Type 1 CCS is more common in the United States, while Type 2 CCS is used in Europe.
Car owners who drive up to a gas station can be relatively sure that they’ll be able to pay with a debit or credit card. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case at EV charging stations. Both in Europe and in the US, there are multiple chargers’ providers who have their own charging networks. In order to pay for EV charging, customers usually need to use an RFID card, a key-fob or an App that is provided by the network they belong to. There are actually few chargers that accept contactless debit or credit cards.
However, as the e-mobility market is growing and changing, providers try to improve their services in order to offer drivers better EV charging experience. For example, in 2019 California approved regulations that require charging companies to install credit card readers at charging stations in order to make them accessible to all drivers. The first round of stations is expected to comply in 2022.
California is not the only location where EV drivers will profit from new regulations. In September 2021, Germany’s federal parliament, passed the new “charging station ordinance”. The bill mandates that every public EV charging point has to accept debit and credit cards by July 2023. Moreover, EU legislation that is being prepared will require payment terminals at all EV charging stations above 50 kilowatts an hour across Europe.
Beyond the differences
Even though the e-mobility market is growing everywhere, the pace and direction of development are different depending on the location. As mentioned before, Europe is a current leader when it comes to EV charging, whereas the US finds it hard to keep up with other competitors. Hence, both countries vary in charging station management systems in terms of components or assets they need to manage: charging cables, connectors, payments and billings.
If you are planning to expand your charging infrastructure, it’s better to be aware of those differences and invest in a complex, yet flexible EV charging management software offered by Codibly. Thanks to separate modules, it can be tailored to your business needs at any location.
More on charging station management systems and how they can optimize energy costs and EV charging, you will find in our previous article.