Why your choice of charging station and charge card provider is crucial.

You’ve made the decision: you’re switching to an electric vehicle. That’s great, but the stressful choices aren’t quite finished. Pertinent questions start to pop up such as  ‘Is there a universal charging pass to charge everywhere?‘ or ‘How exactly are charging sessions on public charging stations paid?‘ At the same time, a whole world of completely new but important abbreviations opens up too, such as eMSP and CPO. This means a whole maze of new terminology and associated confusion for new users.

For drivers of electric vehicles their initial thoughts are about the choice of vehicle and the home charging installation. The choice of provider for their charging station usually only comes as the next stage. However, a high-quality provider is an absolutely essential point for smooth electric driving

eMSP makes charging easy.

The charging pass providers are called E-Mobility Service Providers, or eMSP. Via its platform, the eMSP offers access to charging points within its own network via a charging pass or app, ensures correct billing, provides additional services and facilitates access to other networks.

The last point, in particular, is not to be underestimated. In contrast to the fuel prices in standard filling stations, there is usually no advertised price per kWh on an electric charging point. The expected charging time can also be difficult to estimate since it is usually not stated. Until the monthly bill drops in the letterbox it’s a matter of guesswork. A high-quality eMSP will provide the user with the necessary transparency regarding the exact costs and characteristics of a charging session.

In other words, the choice of provider has a direct influence on the efficient use of your electric vehicle. Not only does this apply to the correct financial processing of your charging sessions and the subscription costs, but also the size of the charging station network and the service level. A high-quality provider will go beyond just billing, and for example will also provide analyses, apps and real-time dashboards to give an insight into your driving behaviour, energy use and charging patterns. You can then use these insights to optimise your own driving and charging patterns.

Various packages.

The price and the packages offered by the various eMSPs can vary significantly. So for example, they may use a fixed subscription tariff or a fixed surcharge on top of the tariff charged by the operator of the charging station. Since these latter tariffs in turn are often very variable, the final cost for a charging session on a (semi-)public charging station can differ significantly. It is definitely worth taking the time to analyse this based on your own driving pattern.

CPO controls your charging station.

An eMSP facilitates the use of the charging stations for the user, but the owner or operator of a charging station can also get assistance to optimise the use of their charging station. This is referred to as a Charge Point Operator or CPO.

Just like with the eMSP we also see a wide spectrum of possible services which the CPO may undertake, both of a technical and commercial nature:
• installation of the charging stations;
• maintenance and repair of the charging stations;
• invoicing and payment of the charging sessions by third parties;
• custom billing of the owner’s charging sessions;
• making the charging station available to external eMSPs.

The CPOs determine the tariff of the charging station for other users and send these on to the eMSP of the user. The price setting can be done in multiple ways. Some CPOs work with a tariff based on the consumed power or charging time, others apply a fixed amount per charging session with a surcharge based on the power used or the charging time.

Standardisation means a win-win.

CPOs can share the tariffs, charging characteristics and charging status of their charging stations in real-time using standardised protocols such as OCPI (Open Charge Point Interface). It took a while for this transparency to become the norm, but for the CPOs and eMSPs it is a clear win-win situation. The eMSPs can more easily offer their customers a much more extensive charging infrastructure than just the charging points within their own network. The CPOs can have the charging stations of their customers used by a much broader user base and increase their own profits and those of the charging station owner.
For the user of the charging point it is also beneficial, because thanks to the cooperation between their eMSP and the CPO of the charging point, they know in advance exactly what the charging tariffs are for the selected charging facility. The cooperation between eMSP and CPO also means that users do not need to use multiple charging passes. Finally, for charging station operators it is also convenient that all charging sessions – irrespective of which eMSP is used – are shown and processed in a transparent way.

There are multiple factors which determine the price, both in terms of the choice of eMSP and CPO. With both types of provider, there is also a wide range of options and packages. Smappee offers both CPO and eMSP services. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information!

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