What is a Charge Point Installer?
Charge point installers offer EV charger planning, installation, and maintenance services.
What Charge Point Installers Do?
Charge point installers (CPIs), as the name suggests, provide EV charge point installation services. However, the scope of their work has expanded with the ongoing growth of the EV charging industry and now includes a range of related services.
At the core of their business, CPIs deal with the technical implementation of EV charging stations, which can be as straightforward as installing a charger for home use or more complex in cases where an entire network of chargers needs to be installed. Large-scale EV charging operations require surveying potential locations where the charge points can be installed, assessing the grid’s reliability, and other elaborate planning steps before installation begins. Therefore, the scope of services and necessary expertise differs among CPIs depending on the type of use cases that they serve.
Some EV charger installers can act as charge point operators (CPOs). The distinction depends on the extent to which the installer is involved in the charging network. If they only provide installation, then they are only installers. However, if they continue their involvement by providing management and maintenance services, they also take the role of a CPO. The benefit of doing so is that while installing EV chargers is a one-time job, providing CPO services is a recurring revenue stream.
Importance of Charge Point Installer
The profitability of charging networks built for commercial purposes depends on factors like location, size, charger type, and required management and maintenance. CPIs are usually the first point of contact for private and business customers looking to install charge points. Hence, this interaction is of the essence when considering that the installation quality directly affects the efficiency and safety of the charging stations.
The EV charging market is growing, and so are the needs and requirements of customers, particularly business customers. They now expect a turnkey EV charging solution, which means the installer provides the customer with a complete charging solution. In other words, customers are now expecting CPIs not only to handle charger installation but also to provide the necessary software and, in some cases, to act as CPOs.
Software has become an integral part of EV charging as it allows a range of features like remote control, monitoring, and troubleshooting of the charging stations. It is common, however, for EV charging manufacturers to only offer a limited software package with their chargers, meaning that CPIs need to source a more robust software solution from a third party.
Practical Examples of What Charge Point Installers Do
- In its “simplest” form, the work of charging station installers is similar to that of installers of home appliances such as air conditioners. CPIs attach the charging point to the wall or a pole driven into the ground and connect it to the electrical network.
- In reality, however, most CPIs offer other services as well. They can, for example, carry out the planning of the construction of charging station networks according to the customer’s needs.
- Their work can also be more complicated in some specific installation cases. Some customers and locations may require atypical installations, such as charging stations with pantographs or those where the cables and the charge point itself are installed underground.
Additional Information About Charge Point Installers
- CPIs can choose to provide broader services or focus on a niche. The market now allows charger installers to specialize in a narrow sector of the EV charging industry, like charging for residential use, fleets, DC fast chargers, and other public, semi-public, or private uses. Private homes, multi-unit dwellings, company fleets, institutions, retailers, entertainment, and hospitality facilities en-route locations; plenty of locations are interested in installing EV chargers. Each of these niches comes with specific needs and requirements, allowing CPIs to increase the value they provide customers by offering tailored solutions.
- Installers can now take advantage of the many innovative solutions available in the EV charging market. Among them are secure authorization and access control systems, dynamic load management (DLM) technologies, smart charging, Plug-and-Charge, AutoCharge, and various payment processing solutions. These are opportunities for CPIs to provide an excellent turnkey service to customers, thus increasing the revenue potential of installation services. However, such features require specialized software known as a charge point management system (CPMS). The CPMS is a backend system that provides a centralized point of management for charging stations and enables features like the ones described above.
- CPMS solutions offer features beyond what charging station manufacturers usually provide with their chargers. When CPIs take the role of charge point operators, they use a CPMS to remotely monitor and manage charging stations and automate a big part of their maintenance. These backend systems differ in capabilities, which can perform predictive maintenance, remotely install firmware updates, reboot charge points, reconfigure their settings, and more.
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