These are some thoughts concerning the needs of electric vehicle drivers concerning our relationship with charging stations and charging station network operators.
- Open access. Drivers should have access to electricity from charging stations, irrespective of network operability.
- Interoperability. Drivers should have access to all networked charging systems, either through a shared smart card (or other device) or through point-of-sale card-swipe technology available on the station itself.
- Transparency. Drivers should have charging prices disclosed to them at the point-of-sale at stations. This information should also be reported in the mapping API so that consumers can choose even before they reach a charging station.
- Consumer pricing protection. Drivers should have access to charge at rates that are reasonable and affordable. There needs to be a mechanism in place to prevent price gouging, particularly at remote charging locations.
The fact of the current situation for electric vehicle drivers is we are faced with a mix of non-inter-operable charging network memberships. The previous era of electric vehicle development resulted in a useful standard, the J1772 plug and charging communication protocol. It meant we could drive up to any J1772 charging station, plug in, and recharge.
BUT in practice the picture isn’t that rosy. Instead we are often required to have a membership with the network that owns the station, and cannot just pay some money like we do at a gasoline station.