The rapidly growing EV charging market presents alluring opportunities for energy retailers to cater to a wide range of B2B and B2C clients. With the right customer offering, smart energy management solutions, investments, and technologies, they have the potential to build and retain a leading market position. Forward-thinking energy retailers are already exploring potential roles within the EV charging ecosystem. Here are four strategic opportunities they can use to capitalize on the rise of eMobility:
1. Increase commodity sales with dynamic pricing
Energy retailers have the benefit of long-established customer relationships that they can turn into tailored EV charging services. Already in customers’ homes, where over 80% of all EV charging takes place, selling kilowatt-hours is a natural business extension for them. Many energy retailers, such as Octopus Energy Group, offer time-of-use and special EV charging tariffs to encourage customers to reduce energy usage during times of high demand. Agile Octopus, their green energy tariff based on up-to-date wholesale energy prices, rewards customers for using energy during off-peak hours. By managing the charging behavior of EV drivers through incentives, energy retailers alleviate the strain on the grid and increase the overall utilization of the system, lowering the per-unit cost.
2. Invest and roll out EV charging infrastructure
One of the main challenges to EV adoption is the lack of EV charging infrastructure. Energy retailers can address this easiest in the home charging market by selling and installing charging stations.
In addition to home charging services, energy retailers can also meet the power needs of fleet, destination, and public charging sites. Given the disparity between the current EV charging infrastructure and what will be required by the decade’s end, energy retailers can close the gap. While this requires substantial investments, they are well suited for the opportunity as they have access to low-cost capital and experience in building, managing, and maintaining large-scale infrastructure.
In Europe and China, energy retailers have already built substantial public EV charging infrastructure. In the United States, over 60 primarily investor-owned power companies have banded together to install EV fast-charging infrastructure along major US highway corridors by the end of 2023.
3. Provide eMobility-related services
eMobility is powered by cross-industry collaboration and partnerships between automotive, hardware manufacturers, payment providers, and policymakers. Energy retailers play a pivotal role in the EV ecosystem as they connect the customer, the vehicle, and the charger providing numerous opportunities to generate value and enhance the customer experience.
One option is to work with public charge point operators (CPOs), selling energy. Another is to become a public CPO for on-street overnight charging, like Total Energies in the Netherlands, where they could provide services at competitive prices. Others can choose to focus on destination charging. In Italy, Enel X Way is focused on developing flexible charging solutions that allow EV drivers to drivers to charge their vehicles within their network across the country. Workplace charging and consulting for B2B clients would also increase their monthly recurring revenue (MRR). Whichever avenue they choose, one thing is certain: No e-Mobility service provider can operate without the services of an energy retailer.
EV charging creates multiple value streams, referred to in the industry as ‘value stacking.’ Stacking the different value streams allows service providers to create more attractive and beneficial offers to EV drivers. Optimizing flexibility, gaining insights, and automating behaviors using data will enable them to continuously develop more attractive offers to their customers.
4. Increase grid flexibility with smart load management
EVs are a powerful load management tool that adds flexibility to the grid because their batteries can provide additional storage capacity. Using the right smart energy management system, energy retailers can regulate the energy flow between the grid and EVs to balance supply and demand. For instance, with vehicle-to-grid- (V2G) technology, EVs can inject electricity from the car battery back into the grid, helping system operators manage energy consumption while providing financial benefits to the drivers.
Load management strategies can help minimize the impact at individual charging locations and maximize associated system benefits. In areas with limited power capacity, dynamic load management can limit the overall electricity utilized by a group of charging stations to avoid costly power upgrades and optimize existing infrastructure.
Besides developing special rate plans that incentivize off-peak charging, energy retailers can offer “green charging” plans by using renewable energy and creating new grid services through partnerships with other companies.
AMPECO can help energy retailers build their EV charging offering
Energy retailers are uniquely positioned to play a vital role in promoting EV adoption. They have strong relationships with customers, access to a wealth of consumer energy data, and a deep understanding of energy usage, which they can turn into bespoke EV charging solutions for their end customers.
Securing the grid sustainably to meet the demand from EVs requires innovative charging technology. Energy retailers entering the EV charging market need to choose vendors and software solutions that can help them proactively shape EV charging in ways that promote a resilient grid.
They need a robust EV charging platform to manage their infrastructure and accommodate the wide range of charging use cases. Based on our experience, these are essential features needed to run one of the successful EV charging business strategies outlined above.
- Future-proof hardware and software that is OCPP-compliant. This will ensure business flexibility and allow energy retailers to add charging stations from multiple vendors and manage a range of charging use cases from one platform.
- A flexible and white-label software solution that includes a customizable backend platform, web portal, and mobile apps and all the features needed to manage chargers at scale.
- A comprehensive API solution to create bespoke customer experiences and integrate EV charging into existing business systems.
- A reliable energy management solution with smart charging capabilities and dynamic load management to ensure optimal utilization of the existing infrastructure.
Energy retailers can meet the needs of many customer segments of the EV charging market: single-family residences, multi-unit residential customers, commercial workplace sites, and fleets. Our EV charging experts can help you develop your offering and fine-tune your approach to the market to minimize the risks and secure your market share.