Webinar highlights: delivering EV charging infrastructure

We held a webinar – Delivering EV infrastructure: what local authority, housing and commercial customers really want – and here are some of the key takeaways from the session.

The webinar was sponsored by Compleo UK, and hosted by e-mobility expert Jess Shanahan, with expert speakers James Cowan, Head of Sales for Compleo Charging Solutions UK; Matt Adams, Transport Policy Manager, Recharge/REA; Ali Khan, UK EV and Business Development & Sales Manager, Vestel; and Mark Winn, Head of EV Strategy, SMS plc.

The panel discussed:

  • What do the customers, both public and commercial, require from their charging technology?
  • How are local authorities doing on the obligation to have a charging strategy?
  • What does the supply chain need to do to deliver infrastructure at pace?
  • What obstacles remain in the realm of policy, finance and logistics
  • Do we now have confidence that charging technology is robust and reliable?

EV drivers

The speakers covered what EV drivers want – and need – from the charging process. Compleo’s James Cowan summed it up by saying: “It boils down to simplicity really. We all want simple access to charging stations with the reliability to back it up.” James went on to talk about working with councils and other organisations to support simple charging processes and educating the drivers themselves. He said: “It really is important that we hand over to the people that are actually going to be using the chargers. So we’ve developed a raft of troubleshooting videos and videos of how to use the kit itself.” This means a council, for example, can provide simple instructions to their fleet drivers about how, when and where to charge their vehicles.

Charging use cases

Mark Winn from SMS spoke about how the EV market has developed, explaining that we need to “recognise that we are still in the early adopter phase of EV charging”. He added that the industry needs to be “working with customers and looking at those sites where we’re deploying charging and that it matches the use case. If you’re staying overnight in a hotel, you want fast charging – nice and cheap, nice and slow. If you are planning a journey and you want a 10 to 15 minute comfort break, there’s your ideal opportunity to stop, take a quick charge. Matching charging to use cases is absolutely paramount when we’re deploying charging out there to the world.”

Supply chain challenges

The topic of a resilient supply chain was discussed by the panel at length. Vestel’s Ali Khan said that complexity of demand forecasting can be a challenge. He said: “It’s about making sure you get the right product at the right time to the right end users and right partners.” He highlighted the need for robust technology supporting the supply chain, saying: “The key point for us has always been digital transformation integration.”

Mark Winn spoke about the need for both clear government policy and UK-based manufacturers of battery technology. He said: “We need more gigafactories and to get more gigafactories, we need clear policy direction and we need a commitment to that policy, because the danger is that the supply chain leaves the UK because manufacturers have made the commitment they need to build vehicles, so they need to build battery technology. I think that’s a real risk to the supply chain and fundamentally the more the supply chain is offshore, the more it’s outside of our control and has impacts on lead times and costs and so on.”

Accessibility

The webinar audience posed some questions to the panel, including one about charging accessibility, particularly for the elderly, those without a smartphone, people with learning disabilities, people with English as a second language and those living in rural communities. James Cowan addressed all the points raised, talking about the work Compleo has done on the height standard for charging stations. He also spoke about the legislation coming forward to include contactless payment terminals on public chargers.

James went on to talk about simplified charging and payment models: “Where we found a lot of success through our German business as a European charging manufacturer on the continent – there’s a lot more roaming capability within the charging network itself, which can be done either via  a subscription service that you would sign up to that gives you X number of miles within that month. It’s a single card access that the person can keep in their wallet or they can use an app if they’ve got access to that. And that should simplify that journey for them as well because it means not downloading multiple apps or setting up multiple accounts.”

To watch the session on demand visit: crowdcast.io/c/delivering-ev-infrastructure