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Enabling EV charger roaming in India | Chat with Ravikiran Annaswamy

Recently, Audi introduced an EV charging solution for its e-tron customers (called ‘Charge my Audi’ on the myAudiConnect app), enabling them to access multiple EV charging networks through a single interface. The application currently includes five CPOs (Charge Point Operators) – Aargo EV Smart, Charge Zone, Relux Electric, LionCharge and Zeon Charging, and is powered by Numocity Technologies’ eMSP roaming solution.

Ravikiran Annaswamy is the CEO and Managing Director at Numocity, a Bangalore-based charging management software tech company.  In this interaction, we discuss their roaming solution for electric vehicle charging.

Bringing different CPOs on a common platform – what role does Numocity play in this model?

We are at a nascent stage with EV infrastructure. While CPOs are continuing to expand coverage, nationwide coverage is yet to be achieved. Our roaming platform is built to enable EV Charging roaming and interconnect, which gives EV users the flexibility to gain access to charging stations which are not part of their preferred CPOs. EV Driver can now access all participating CPOs’ chargers through the mobile app of any one of the CPOs. This eliminates the need for multiple mobile apps and also creates stickiness and loyalty to their preferred CPOs.

What capabilities and conveniences for the end customers are offered as a result of this initiative?

End customers no longer need multiple mobile apps and have the convenience of discovering all available chargers through one interface. Unlike aggregator apps, they can get the real-time status of the chargers and initiate the charging sessions from one CPO mobile app. The payments are also enabled through the same mobile app. End customers get the convenience and access to a larger nationwide network.

What capabilities and conveniences are offered to the CPOs as a result of this initiative?

The roaming platform enables CPOs to provide a compelling customer experience. It provides them with the following business benefits:

– Provide a wide network with partner CPOs. This can be through geographically distributed and non-competing CPOs.

– Increase utilization of already invested EV Charging infrastructure by sharing their network with other CPOs. It leads to a reduction in idle time of chargers.

– Additional source of revenue

– Create increased stickiness and brand awareness

– Reach to newer EV drivers through participating CPOs

Will this solution remain restricted to Audi e-Tron customers (which is not a large number)? Is there scope to extend it to other electric car owners as well?

The solution from Numocity is a roaming platform for use by several players in the market. The current launch has been the first implementation of a Car OEM leveraging the Charging network, and it is just the beginning. In the coming months, more players and CPOs will tap into the platform and provide a wider network. The goal is to address the range anxiety of end customers and, at the same time, increase the utilization of existing charging infrastructure.

Can you share a comment on the ‘Data sharing concerns’ among the CPOs? How is that resolved?

The roaming platform ensures only the required data for user experience is shared with the partner CPO. The PII (Personally Identifiable Information) data is also anonymised and hence does not create any concerns. All operational data is kept secure, and only session data is available for both partners in a roaming scenario.

How does Numocity solve the problem of discovery as well as providing a single payment platform across multiple CPOs?

Numocity roaming platform connects to multiple CPOs and, in real-time, enables EV users to

  • Discover all available chargers
  • Get availability through the real-time status of chargers
  • Do the charging session and receive an invoice
  • Make payments through the host CPO payment methods. A single payment platform reduces the burden on consumers from downloading additional applications and registering themselves all over again. End customers can now use existing wallets to pay across CPOs.

Which all protocols (OCPP/OCPI) are used in enabling this multi-party arrangement?

The CPMS solutions use OCPP protocols to manage and interwork with EV Chargers. This is the industry-accepted protocol. For enabling roaming and interconnect, the OCPI protocol and a few proprietary interfaces are used to ensure smooth experiences and operations.

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