ChargePoint and Greenlots have announced a roaming partnership that will allow customers to use a member of either charging network to charge on all Greenlots and ChargePoint stations without having to create a new account or pay additional fees.
The partnership is set to go into effect in the middle of 2019 as charging network operators break down years of wall building that forced customers to sign up for multiple dedicated accounts and charging cards to secure the ability to charge on any of the dozens of public charging networks that exist.
The new agreement carries forward the seamless “fueling up” experience that drivers are accustomed to from gas stations into the world of electric vehicle charging. We are not quite at the point where customers can just use a credit card or contactless payment system to pay for charging, but these new roaming agreements are a step in the right direction.
“The EV charging industry is experiencing a period of critical growth and evolution,” said Lin-Zhuang Khoo, Senior Vice President, Greenlots. “This once-fragmented industry is building momentum towards true driver interoperability thanks to adoption of standards like the Open Charge Point Interface that are beneficial to drivers, automakers, grid operators and charging infrastructure providers.”
Lin-Zhuang Khoo said that the announcement bodes well for the industry as it moves towards customer-centric payment schemes ahead of regulation. “The most visible benefit from this advancement will be to drivers: members of both networks can roam in their EVs without the burden of managing multiple accounts or worrying about exorbitant surcharges for charging their vehicle, and more drivers will be enticed to go electric thanks to a new, seamless charging experience.”
ChargePoint established itself as an early leader in the public EV charging space as well as a reputation for aggressively building out and defending its walled garden charging network. The recent announcements the company has made for interoperability agreements – also known as roaming agreements – make it clear that the company is turning over a new leaf as it works towards more customer-centric models for interoperability.
Nobody wants to have to sign up for 10 different memberships, each with their own payment system, app, and card just to be able to top up the car while getting groceries. Interoperability carries the promise of solving that challenge once and for all as public charging network operators work to leverage common standards like the Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI) protocol that underpins the new agreement with Greenlots. OCPI is an independent, open protocol that enables network operators to exchange key information needed to provide roaming services, which gives EV drivers a number of benefits.
“The electric mobility revolution is upon us and there is no turning back. For more than a decade, ChargePoint has worked to create an open and accessible network that enables drivers to enjoy an effortless charging experience everywhere they live, work and play,” said Michael Hughes, Chief Commercial and Revenue Officer, ChargePoint.
“We are pleased to partner with Greenlots and others in our category to further support the growing EV driver community and help accelerate the mass adoption of electrified transportation on a global scale. We invite other networks to join us in similar partnerships as we seek to make EV charging ubiquitous and the transition to EV seamless as we move quickly to lay the foundation for the fueling network of the future.”
The agreement stretches beyond just the stations into the apps used by each network. The new agreement will allow drivers to use the Greenlots or ChargePoint mobile applications to locate charging stations, activate a charging session, and pay for charging. In the United States, the current gold standard for finding an EV charging station from a smartphone is PlugShare, but the more roaming agreements that are inked, the easier that becomes from within a charging network operator app, like ChargePoint or Greenlots.
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