What is an EV Roaming Network Operator (RNO)?

An EV roaming network operator is a service provider that establishes a network by connecting multiple charge point operators (CPO) and emobility providers (eMSP). This allows EV drivers to use stations across different operators within the network seamlessly.

What Do EV Roaming Network Operators Do?

The emobility market comprises thousands of individual players, each providing its own charging solution, making it difficult for EV drivers to navigate. EV roaming network operators connect various EV charging providers, allowing drivers to charge at any station easily and conveniently, much like mobile phone roaming allows for calls and data use across different regions and networks.

Taking on the strategic role of facilitators, EV roaming network operators collaborate with multiple CPOs eager to broaden their reach through shared networks. They handle contracts, manage payments, and, most crucially, offer EV drivers an uncomplicated, single access point to an extensive charging network, significantly enhancing the user experience.

Importance of EV Roaming Network Operators

As the market matures and more players enter the space, it becomes unfeasible for charge point operators to partner through bilateral (P2P) agreements. Instead, it makes more sense to partner with an EV roaming hub, which can provide CPOs access to the charging networks of many other CPOs.

One primary benefit is simplified connectivity. Roaming network operators provide a centralized platform where CPOs can broaden their reach without the logistical nightmare and financial burden of individually negotiated agreements or physical infrastructure expansion. Roaming network operators facilitate the establishment of a unified charging infrastructure while expanding it in a way that could hardly be achieved through P2P contracts.

EV roaming network operators also play a pivotal role in enhancing user confidence in EV technology and its practicality. By opening charging networks for more users, EV roaming hubs help solve one of the EV industry’s big barriers—charging anxiety. This is a conversational term that has entered the industry to describe the concern of EV drivers that they may not have convenient or timely access to a charger due to the still-developing charging infrastructure.

Practical examples of EV roaming network operators

Gireve and Hubject stand out as leading EV roaming hubs, offering users access to hundreds of thousands of charging points throughout Europe. These two roaming hubs allow CPOs to scale beyond what they can typically do on their own and open the growing charging infrastructure to all drivers regardless of which CPO they subscribe to or where they are physically located.

Additional information about EV roaming network operators

While EV roaming network operators simplify operations for CPOs and EV drivers, orchestrating such a seamless network is anything but simple. These hubs are products of intricate negotiations, forging multifaceted agreements with various players, all while upholding superior service standards for electric vehicle charging.

Sustaining a high-caliber EV roaming service is also challenging, especially with consumer expectations scaling alongside the market. The reputation of RNOs hinges not only on their adeptness in fostering partnerships but also on the quality of the charging services provided by the CPOs they partner with.

Enter the transformative role of the Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI) protocol. This open, independent, and freely available protocol supports data exchange and connections between eMobility service providers (eMSPs) and CPOs. Through an OCPI-enabled Charge Point Management System (CPMS), this protocol provides a secure and standardized communication environment where CPOs and the various software and hardware solutions available on the market can intercommunicate.

Leading EV roaming hubs, like Hubject, Gireve and e-clearing, bring their proprietary communication protocols to the table, namely OICP, eMIP and OCHP, respectively. These specialized protocols further facilitate the intricate web of connections between CPOs and e-mobility service providers.

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