The electric vehicle industry has been growing exponentially in recent years. In 2020, more than three billion EVs were sold globally, up from one billion just three years before. This growth rate happened even as the total passenger car market declined by 14% in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. Industry analysts estimate EV sales will reach 30 billion in 2028 and represent almost 50% of all passenger cars sold worldwide by 2030.
These numbers predict prosperous times to come for electric vehicles and all sectors that support them, including parking and charging. The transition from internal combustion to electric vehicles requires these industries to adopt new processes and technologies to make owning an EV appealing to customers while ensuring sustainable growth within their companies.
Currently, mobile apps are the go-to solution for bridging the gap between service providers and their clients. In this article, we explore challenges EV-charging faces today, particularly in processing payments, and the solutions offered by the latest parking applications.
The challenges of EV-charging payments
Although electric vehicles are still in their nascent days, their proliferation has outpaced investments in charging infrastructure. As a result, charging stations and payment solutions currently exist in various forms, operated by different stakeholders. Some public stations and parking operators are even offering free charging sessions.
This lack of standardization is holding back the development of reliable payment solutions. Many station operators taking payments offer custom solutions, which rely on close monitoring, digital memberships, and operator-specific cards for validation. These methods are limiting and fail to fulfill the broader market needs of user-friendliness and personalization. They are also expensive to implement. To best serve the growing EV sector, payment methods must provide familiarity, convenience, and security to users while showing ROI to operators.
How can parking apps help with EV-charging payments?
The retail sector has widely adopted contactless payments. People are familiar with these solutions and know first-hand the convenience they offer. For EV charging providers, mobile apps are the go-to technology for providing a user-friendly interface. Embracing apps as payment solutions is a fool-proof way to earn return customers while streamlining operations.
Parking apps like Pavemint already allow users to pre-book parking slots and pay for them directly from their smartphones. If your parking lot has EV-charging stations, future apps and features can allow you to specify which spaces have charging capabilities and include the charging cost in the total booking price.
Once a parking space with an EV-charging station has been booked, you can leverage the geolocation capabilities of a customer’s smartphone to start the charging session automatically when they enter the parking garage and occupy their space. Additional devices like number-plate scanners, cameras, and proximity sensors can help verify that the right vehicle has occupied a particular spot before starting the session.
From the user’s point of view, the process is as simple as downloading the app and registering an account. They can then proceed to view available parking spaces within their vicinity. If they need to charge their electric vehicle, they can reserve a station-equipped spot and pay for it with the touch of a button.
Harnessing the power of a smartphone through parking payment apps can unlock a myriad of opportunities to improve customer experience and make your operations more efficient. By eliminating on-site payment processes, which cause unnecessary gridlock, clients would simply be driving in, charging their cars, and driving away. You would also avoid the cost of hiring personnel to manage a physical payment system.
Additionally, an app can calculate and display cost estimates for charging sessions, enabling the customer to plan their charging budget more accurately. You can give customers even more value by using the app to provide helpful insights like how often they have charged their vehicles in a period and electric prices at a given time or location.
The future of EV-charging payments
Parking apps present intriguing opportunities for today’s EV charging provider. With apps getting more and more popular for parking, it won’t be long before EV owners embrace using their smartphones to book and pay for charging sessions.
That said, electric vehicles are just now becoming mainstream. While apps will likely take over EV charging payments in the short term, it is still too early to paint a definitive picture of the future. The current buzz around renewables could bring solar-powered charging systems built into future vehicles. Roads could also be built with wireless charging systems that charge cars as they sit in traffic.
Nevertheless, mobile apps suit the current EV charging infrastructure more than any other payment solution thus far. With a parking app, you can give your clients the convenience of finding and paying for an EV-friendly parking spot right from their smartphones.