The proverbial velvet rope may do wonders for trendy nightclubs, but it's apparently hurting the plug-in vehicle industry. While the lack of available public charging stations is largely viewed as a hurdle to broader EV adoption, research firm Frost & Sullivan says membership-based payment systems a big hindrance.

While the membership model, in which drivers are required to "join" a network to use a particular type of charging station, is great for the folks who build and deploy the stations, it's inconvenient for people who simply want to pull in and "fill up" just as they do at gas stations.

One solution is the broadened use of so-called near field communication (NFC), which would allow drivers to simply use their smartphones to get their payment sources authenticated. Frost & Sullivan calls NFC a "game changer" for plug-in adoption.

While not ditching the membership model altogether, ECOtality, maker of Blink charging systems, and ChargePoint (formerly Coulomb Technologies) in March formed a joint-venture called Collaboratev LLC that allowed a cross-membership of sorts, giving the two sets of "members" access to both types of charging stations.

Read Frost & Sullivan's press release below.
Show full PR text
User-friendly Payment Options for EV Charging Will Reduce Adoption Barriers, Notes Frost & Sullivan

End-to-end authentication and payment services through smartphone applications an important trend in the EV market

LONDON – 29 May 2013 – Insufficient infrastructure has been the main dampener for the wider adoption of electric vehicles (EV), with user concerns revolving around the insufficient number of charging stations across a widespread area and cumbersome methods of authentication and payment. The implementation of user-friendly authentication and payment systems will go a long way in improving EV uptake.

Currently, the most common method of authorising access to charging stations is the membership model. EV drivers register with charging station networks provided by specific utilities. For an initial deposit and/or monthly charges, registered users are issued radio frequency identification (RFID) cards that can be used to authenticate and initiate charging at a station.

This subscription-based model is popular among charging station owners because of its profitability – it locks in a proportion of the limited customer base for a specific time period, ensuring easy return on investment. However, it is inconvenient for EV drivers. The payment options are limited, drivers cannot use available facilities unless they are members of the network, and registering with multiple networks means carrying multiple RFID cards. However, there is an emerging trend of cooperation among EV networks to accept common authentication credentials and allow interoperability of charging stations.

"The subscription method misses the opportunity to tap into current social trends and a connected community with its widespread adoption of smartphones and expectations for digital and real-time transactions," observed Frost & Sullivan ICT Research Associate Shuba Ramkumar.

Besides RFID cards, other emerging authentication and payment options in the EV market involve using Short Messaging Service (SMS), mobile apps, or a mobile wallet on a smartphone. Even then, registration with the charging station provider is sometimes a prerequisite for using the payment options, which can be a stumbling block for non-member EV drivers.

"The adoption of near field communication (NFC) within the EV market can be a game changer in EV drivers' experience," opined Ramkumar. "It has the potential to provide secure authentication and access to authorised entities, and is being tested in Deutsche Telekom's (DT) smart city project in Friedrichshafen. The results may prevent NFC from being written off as a mainstream technology in a connected society future."

In short, a logical first step to encourage more EV users is empowering them with charging network availability and convenience of payments. Charging station owners will benefit from having more EVs on the road and should work towards the easy-to-use, fast, end-to-end authentication and payment services.

If you are interested in more information on the role of ICT in EV infrastructure, please send an e-mail to Katja Feick, Corporate Communications, at katja.feick@frost.com, with your full contact details.

Join us at our upcoming event Urban Mobility 3.0
Frost & Sullivan will be hosting its two-day interactive workshop Urban Mobility 3.0: New Urban Mobility Business Models on 19-20 June 2013 at the House of Lords and the Siemens Crystal Building in London. Day 1 will feature a high-level debate on the "Death of the conventional car and rise of new urban mobility business models". Day 2 will consist of 5 different panels, focussing on mega trends and their impact on mobility, new business models, such as mobility integration, car sharing, and new fleet/leasing models, urban logistics and online retailing, as well as autonomous driving. A limited number of media passes are available.

For more information, visit: www.urbanmobility.gilcommunity.com. The brochure for the event can also be found on Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/FrostandSullivan/frost-sullivan-urban-mobility-30

About Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today's market participants.

Our "Growth Partnership" supports clients by addressing these opportunities and incorporating two key elements driving visionary innovation: The Integrated Value Proposition and The Partnership Infrastructure.

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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      Giza Plateau
      • 1 Year Ago
      We need easy digital money. No good that you need registration with each of the douches that have these stations. I guess VISA would be a start but something easier would be better. It has to be generally payable. If you travel and arrive somewhere foreign saturday night it just no damn good that you have to call someone or register somewhere. They could write a website on the stand so you can pay to active a specific one with a smartphone. but even that is messy. we need VISA basically. since the world doesn't have smarter for payment yet.
      Actionable Mango
      • 1 Year Ago
      This article makes no sense. I don't see how NFC is a solution to getting rid of membership, especially since the example given states that a membership is still required. The way to get rid of the membership requirement is to simply drop the membership requirement. The method of payment is irrelevant. NFC, credit card, debit card, cash, coin, check, bitcoin, gold bouillon... none of these inherently require membership.
      aatheus
      • 1 Year Ago
      Chargepoint already allows anyone to use their stations without becoming a member. All you need is a 'contactless' credit card, like Discover Zip, or Mastercard, or Visa, or American Express. NFC will be nice to have as well.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      That would certainly help matters but it is far from the key to adoption. The key to adoption is having a great value proposition . . . a great price/performance. And what slows adoption is high price and short range. Making public chargers easier to use won't help much since there are not that many of them. If they were everywhere then you could depend on them. But as, there are few of them, the may be used by others, and they may be broken such that it is difficult to depend on them. And no one wants to pay to install zillions of them because it is not cheap and they don't make money.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      This would seem pretty obvious, no? I mean, the market can figure this out! You put a charging station down - and you need to charge money for it - thus you need to make it as convenient to use as a gas pump. The membership model will go the way of the dodo bird. Just give it time!
      DT333
      • 1 Year Ago
      The charging infrastructure is beside the point. I used to think "oh I need more public charging spots before I can get an EV" then once I actually started driving one. I drive a Leaf which is the *perfect* commuter car. One of the things I like about it is I never have to stop for gas on the way home. My gas station *is* my house and as a commuter, this is a selling point. I have only used public charging stations on two occasions because it was there/novelty (I had plenty of charge to get home). Even if every gas station in america had a L3 charger in it, my 90mi range leaf would be a pain in the rear to make a road trip with. Unless you own a Tesla that can go 300mi on a charge and charge up in 20 minutes the entire idea of a public charging infrastructure is beside the point.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I drive two EV's (Volt and Leaf) and, personally I think there has to be a different strategy to deployment of "charging" stations. Commuters that travel in excess of 40 miles one way need Level 2 chargers but for the most part, day to day driving just requires Level 1 but the manufacturers of Level 2 stations certainly don't want to admit that. In my opinion many retailers and restaurants could attract a loyal following by allowing their patrons to plug in. The other thing is they do not have to install expensive Level 2 chargers. Most of us buy our groceries, go to the mall, go out to eat, go to the movies, etc... within 5 to 10 miles of our homes. To recharge that 5-10 miles on 120 Volts takes about from 1 to 3 hours depending on the vehicle and would cost the business between .10 cents to .40 cents in electricity. Sure, that cost is "something" but, as an EV driver, it would make me think twice about where I choose to shop. The cost to install for the Retailer would be simply hooking a Level 1 adapter up where the lights are in the parking lot... or just giving me the option to bring my own adapter to plug in to a regular socket.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Year Ago
      ". Note in California a mall DOES NOT have the right to refuse access to individuals. " Citation, please.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Year Ago
      " Letstakeawalk resists the idea that a parking lot for a place of business is a public place, even though under California law it quite likely is." There's a difference between a "public place" which I agree the Mall Parking lot is, and "private property" which I also assert that the Mall Parking lot is. The Mall Parking lot owner/lease holder has the right to refuse use of that parking lot to anyone. That's their right as private property owners. When Tesla owns/leases a space *anywhere*, they still retain the right to limit how that space is used. If the space is adjacent to a Tesla EVSE, then nothing in the law forces Tesla to allow a non-Tesla-approved vehicle to use that space. The "private property" exclusion is the overriding factor - not whether Tesla (or anyone else) charges, or doesn't charge a fee, for use of the EVSE. "The intent of this section of the law is clearly to allow Walgreens to require you to be a Walgreens customer to use their charger. But it's unclear how this really works out or if it means much at all." No, the law is very clear here. A private property owner/leaseholder such as Walgreens or Tesla, can place any limit they like on who can use the space next to their EVSE, including how long they can stay there, just as they can with any other space under their control. For example, our local grocery store has its own parking lot. I agree that this is a "public space", but it is still private property, and the grocery store can have a car fined or towed - even if it belongs to a customer - if they feel the space is being used inappropriately. I'm not sure why Rotation believes that this proposed law would curtail the ability of a property owner/leaseholder to limit access to their own private property to a group or individual of their own choosing. The law specifically gives an exemption to those who operate EVSEs adjacent to reserved parking spaces. Those spaces can be reserved for any individual or group of drivers - like Tesla owners. Try parking any other car in a Tesla Supercharger space, and see what happens.
      Dave D
      • 1 Year Ago
      I thought California already made it illegal to force people to become a member to use a charging station?
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave D
        I don't think it passed yet.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          True. And hopefully, they'll straighten out the verbiage, because we can certainly agree that it's very poorly written, and will only cause confusion about who is actually allowed to do what.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave D
        They can require membership, in certain circumstances such as a privately-owned network not open to the general public but limited to a specific group of users (like Tesla owners, or EVSE in a private parking lot for use of employees only.) They do have to allow non-members access to the EVSE, and can charge an additional fee for non-member use. (This is what makes it an "open" station that the general public can access.) "Use of an electric vehicle charging station may require additional network roaming charges for nonmembers if those charges are disclosed to the public at the point of sale." If the EVSE is on private property, the owner/lease holder can limit user access to any group they choose - for example Tesla is under no obligation to provide EVSE access to non-Tesla owners because Superchargers are a private network. "“Public parking spaces” shall not include a parking space that is part of, or associated with, a private residence or a parking space that is reserved for the exclusive use of an individual driver or vehicle or for a group of drivers or vehicles, such as employees, tenants, residents of a common interest development, or residents of an adjacent building. Nothing in this article limits the ability of an owner or lessor of a parking space whose primary business is other than electric vehicle charging from restricting use of the parking space to customers of the business." http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/13-14/bill/sen/sb_0451-0500/sb_454_bill_20130507_amended_sen_v96.htm
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Letstakeawalk: I'm not sure why you keep using Tesla as an example. This doesn't apply to them because they don't charge money. '"Public parking space” means a parking space that is available to, and accessible by, the public and includes on-street parking spaces, parking spaces in surface lots or parking garages, and designated visitor parking spaces in a private business parking lot.' A private business parking lot is a public space as designated by this. Note in California a mall DOES NOT have the right to refuse access to individuals. A mall or similar area is a public place in California by law. Target would like to bar people from soliciting in their parking lot but they cannot do so because of the law. 'I'm not sure why Rotation believes that this proposed law would curtail the ability of a property owner/leaseholder to limit access to their own private property to a group or individual of their own choosing.' I'm not sure why you think I think that. It isn't this proposed law that does that. The existing law does that. Malls and other similar places are considered public places. Thus the existing law limits your ability to limit access. Parking any vehicle including a Tesla in a Tesla supercharger spot for anything but the purposes of charging is illegal in California already. So if I park there, I will be in trouble. But this isn't the issue I brought up. The issue is how much can Walgreens restrict your access. They can specify it is for customers only, as this law says. 'Nothing in this article limits the ability of an owner or lessor of a parking space whose primary business is other than electric vehicle charging from restricting use of the parking space to customers of the business.' The question is what other restrictions can they place? If you become a customer by buying a candy bar, then they say you can only use the charger for X hours? This is not addressed by this new law and I am wondering how the issue is addressed by existing law. Surely a customer becomes a loiterer at some point. When do they? And then can you kick them out of the charging spot you could not bar them from when they were a customer?
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Letstakeawalk: My brother told me about the California malls being a public place thing, he learned it in law school. I googled for a citation and I cannot find one. But as I mentioned, all you have to do is go to a Target in California and see the signs the have saying "please don't give this person money, we cannot legally remove them but we recommend you do not give money to solicitors" to understand the situation. I don't know how loitering is treated. I know the only thing the mall has to do with it is initiating it. A mall can call the cops on loiterers, they cannot eject them on their own. When the cops show up I don't know what the standard is for whether the loiterers have to leave or not. It's possible they never have to leave, I just don't know. That's why I put the question out there. You keep trying to make this about Tesla, but my original point of all this was that CostCo may not be able to have members-only chargers like they have members-only gas stations due to this law seemingly indicating that you cannot require a paid membership to charge. They likely would have to treat it like their liquor section is right now in many states, where the public can purchase without a membership, although in the charging case they could charge an extra fee. The other question I posed is that while Walgreens may run those chargers primary to attract people who buy stuff inside (like a convenience store/gas station), they may want to have a way to keep out people who just buy one small item and then charge for 12 hours because they make less off them. I wonder if they have a legal way to do it? I'm not saying they don't, more wondering how than if.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          I agree that the law is extremely poorly written so as to allow great confusion. " So if they put in a charger, it's clearly not their primary business at this point so can they force you to be a member of the "Exxon Club"? I would agree that this is *very* possible. All they have to do is say that the parking space is reserved for members only. Just like Tesla restricts the usage of certain parking spaces that they own/lease to the private use of Tesla owners.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          The law doesn't apply to Tesla because they don't charge for charging. Dave D: It's unclear what the outcome of all that is. Letstakeawalk resists the idea that a parking lot for a place of business is a public place, even though under California law it quite likely is. In this case, the place of business couldn't require you to join a club but they could of course charge you extra for not being a member of one. The intent of this section of the law is clearly to allow Walgreens to require you to be a Walgreens customer to use their charger. But it's unclear how this really works out or if it means much at all. A Tesla can charge for over 12 hours at 6kW, if I buy a candy bar, then can I stay until I wish to leave, including overnight?
          Dave D
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Ahhh, thanks for the clarification. It seems to make sense and be somewhat reasonable, but I wonder how the definition of "private property" and "not primary purpose of business" will reconcile with open use? For example, most of today's gas stations are also convience stores. They could argue that they make more money on their beer/bread/milk than they do on gas so gas is not their primary business. So if they put in a charger, it's clearly not their primary business at this point so can they force you to be a member of the "Exxon Club"? Just thinking through how all of this will play out.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          "Surely a customer becomes a loiterer at some point. " And when they decide that you're loitering, they can have you removed. From the parking lot, or wherever you are on the property. You acknowledge this is the Mall's legal right, correct?
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          "You keep trying to make this about Tesla, but my original point of all this was that CostCo may not be able to have members-only chargers like they have members-only gas stations due to this law seemingly indicating that you cannot require a paid membership to charge." Yes, you can require a membership. For example, when the EVSE is on private property. " Nothing in this article limits the ability of an owner or lessor of a parking space whose primary business is other than electric vehicle charging from restricting use of the parking space to customers of the business." It's my parking lot, and I get to say who can use the EVSE located therein. ", an electric vehicle charging station may offer services on a subscription- or membership-only basis provided those electric vehicle charging stations allow nonsubscribers or nonmembers the ability to use the electric vehicle charging station through the payment options detailed in paragraph " This is the *very* confusing part of the law. I can offer the EVSE on a membership-only basis, as long as I offer non-members the option of paying [to join] at the EVSE. Otherwise, my private property rights kick in, and I get to say who can and cannot use that space adjacent to my EVSE, and non-members are simply not allowed to use that space. Hence my use of Tesla in my examples - Tesla restricts the ability of anyone other than a Tesla owner to use a Tesla-owned/leased parking space. "My brother told me about the California malls being a public place thing, he learned it in law school. " I'll reiterate: There's a difference between a "Public Space" which is generally accessible to the general public, and a private parking space, which is limited to a defined group of users. They can be the same thing - but they have different definitions. The Mall parking lot is private property *and* a public space - both at the same time. I can take a picture of you there, you have no right to privacy there because you are out in an open area, a "public space". OTOH, it is still private property, and there can be restrictions on what you can do within that public space, as designated by the property owner. The property owner can tell you where you can and cannot park, and limit your usage of parking spaces to any degree they like - it's their property. If they want to (as Tesla does) limit access to a parking space to a specific group of drivers, they have that right. They can tow you, or boot you, or whatever they'd like. "all you have to do is go to a Target in California and see the signs the have saying "please don't give this person money, we cannot legally remove them but we recommend you do not give money to solicitors" to understand the situation." Citation please. Most places *do* have ordinances against begging and panhandling. But that's not what we're talking about - we're talking about *parking*. If you park improperly, they do have the right to have your car removed.
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