Assessing the clarity of Electric Vehicle Charging data

Charging infrastructure accessibility and the clarity of information represent significant challenges to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). To gain insights into the quality of consumer information offered by charge point operators (CPOs), a recent study by steer examined the websites of 9 CPOs.
The study suggests that CPOs vary significantly in the information they provide. There is no one-stop-shop for EV charging information; each operator has its own unique approach.

All CPOs do offer information about charge point types. Some, like Total Energies and BP Pulse, employ icons to clarify plug types (e.g., Type 2, Combo, CHAdeMO), which aids consumer understanding. However, with a multitude of plug types, confusion often ensues, especially for those trying to match their vehicle’s compatibility.

Most CPOs (eight out of nine) provide details on the charge point’s maximum power output. Yet, a gap exists in explaining how this relates to a vehicle’s onboard charger. For example, if a car’s charger can only handle 80kW, a 350kW charger offers no added benefit.

Shockingly, only one CPO (Shell Recharge) classifies charging speeds as fast, rapid, or ultra-rapid. Given that speed in kWh may not be easily understood, this omission is noteworthy.

Six CPOs offer clear charge point status information, indicating whether a charger is occupied or available. However, the way they report this varies. Only four CPOs disclose the number of charge point connectors, which can be confusing for consumers looking to book or plan their journey.

Seven CPOs offer some price information, with some using kWh, others using time-based metrics. This inconsistency can perplex consumers. Moreover, only ChargePoint provides approximate charging costs, highlighting the complexity of estimating charging expenses.

Most CPOs provide route planning information, but only four divulge opening times. Information on booking charge points is limited, likely due to the potential for confusion and revenue loss.

While payment information is essential, only Shell Recharge and Allego provide clear details. The payment process is not always integrated with CPO maps, and payment is often facilitated through membership cards or contactless methods.

The study reveals that consumer information across European charge points is inconsistent and non-interoperable. The charging landscape is characterised by perplexing plug types, pricing disparities, limited booking options, and obscure opening times. As EV adoption accelerates, standardising and simplifying this crucial information becomes paramount for a seamless transition to electric mobility.

source: Electric Vehicles: Consumer Information Review | Steer

A comparison chart for various EV charging networks (Elli, IONITY, Tesla, and more). Categories like charge point type, speed, maximum power, number of charge points, pricing models, cost of charging, route planning, geographical coverage, and opening times are listed.
source: Electric Vehicles: Consumer Information Review | Steer
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