What Is a Charging Network?

An EV stores energy in its rechargeable battery, which powers the motor. When the battery starts to run low, the vehicle plugs into a charger and receives electricity from the grid to continue to function.

In contrast to a stand-alone EV charger, networked EV chargers connect to the internet. The charging network provides real-time charging status updates, controls access, monitors electrical use, and provides many other functions.

Why Do We Need Charging Networks?

Through 2030, EV sales could grow as much as 25% annually, according to a report by McKinsey. Clearly, the large influx of electric vehicles will require a corresponding charging infrastructure to support them. In fact, President Biden’s infrastructure plan calls for 500,000 EV chargers by 2030.


How Do Charging Networks Integrate with the Electrical Grid?

A critical function of a charging network is to monitor electricity use. An EV charger’s internet connection to the local utility helps with management of the electrical load.

Who Provides Charging Networks?

Governments

In February 2022, President Biden, along with the US Departments of Energy and Transportation, announced the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program. Over the next five years, the NEVI program will provide an investment of nearly $5 billion to states in the hopes of creating a national network of EV chargers.

OEMs

Many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have mandated minimum EV charging requirements for their dealers, in part to prepare for the influx of EV inventory.

Specialist providers

Some companies specialize in providing infrastructure for EV charging. For example, ChargePoint is the largest network of EV charging stations in North America and Europe, with more than 18,000 locations.


Why Should You Build Your Own Charging Network?

Because of increasing emphasis on electrification, the business model for dealerships will pivot in the next 20 years. Today, perhaps 60% of your revenue model is based on servicing vehicles with combustion engines. As the service work landscape changes, Future Energy can help your dealership use EV charging both as a revenue stream and as a flagship service to draw customers to your business.

Pros of Building Your Own Charging Network

Your own charging network gives your business total control over power management. You can control your EV chargers manually, through automation, or through a software platform such as Future Energy’s Interface™. Interface is a software interface that connects all of your business systems. You can visualize, control, and manage all your chargers across many sites from one centralized dashboard.

In fact, Future Energy can help you design algorithms to manage energy use throughout your business, ultimately saving costs and distributing power to match your business use case.

And because the EV charging network communicates wirelessly, you can access Interface from anywhere, at any time.

Cons of Building Your Own Charging Network

Your own charging network requires intensive planning and forethought. To optimize power management, your business will need to plan carefully to match power management with your business objectives.

Design of Your Charging Network

Your business use case determines the design of your charging network. Future Energy can show you how to aggregate groups of chargers so that they contribute to a single load capacity. Meanwhile, other charging groups can operate independently.

For example, a dealership may prioritize charging EV inventory. In that case, Future Energy helps design your EV charging network so that as your business approaches peak load, the system caps your inventory chargers last. Perhaps you network your public-facing chargers separately so that the system caps their charging capacity before minimizing power to business-critical operations.

Should Your Charging Network Join a Larger Network?

Future Energy can help you connect your business’s charging network to a national EV charging station network. Drivers looking for a place to charge can find open charging stations through the network’s apps.

Attracting Customers

Because EV drivers are looking for something to do while their car charges—eat or shop, for instance—your EV chargers can attract business.

Building Loyalty

In addition to attracting customers, EV chargers can help build loyalty. You can offer coupons or loyalty programs to EV drivers. Customers will understand your business not only has reliable EV charging, but also offers them value beyond a place to charge up.

Integrating National Networks

As a partner, your company would appear on the EV charging app for the network, creating increased visibility:

ChargePoint

ChargePoint is the largest EV charging network in the US, with more than 68,000 locations. In fact, Future Energy uses ChargePoint chargers as part of the turnkey EV charging environment ChargeParc™. ChargePoint chargers integrate fully with Interface and are fully customizable to your brand.

Electrify America

Volkswagen established a public EV charging network as part of its diesel emissions settlement with the government. Electrify America plans to install more than 10,000 chargers in the US and Canada by 2026. In March 2022, Electrify America announced further initiatives to enhance the customer experience, such as lounges and overhead canopies. Plus, some stations will offer valet charging and curbside delivery.

OEMs

Many original equipment manufacturers are teaming up with third parties to build EV chargers. For example, General Motors is building thousands of DC fast chargers in densely populated areas. The idea is to serve residents of apartments or condos who might not otherwise have access to home charging. Also, Porsche has plans to create a network of 500 charging stations across North America to support its new EV lines.

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Who Can Help Me Understand EV Network Charging?

There will be 22 million EVs on US roads by 2030, the Edison Electric Institute predicts. They will require 100,000 fast-charging ports to support them. This need is a primary reason why you need network charging. Contact Future Energy today so that we can help uncover the value for your business.