Our third webinar focused on the consumers. It looked at their preferences, incentives, and motivations in smart and V2X charging. We heard from Ellen Hiep (Dutch EV Drivers’ Association) who presented SCALE research on consumer behaviour in smart and V2X charging and Evangelos Karfopoulos (National Technical University of Athens) who showcased eCharge4Drivers research on EV drivers’ a priori concerns. The session was moderated by Edwin Bestebreurtje (FIER Sustainable Mobility).
An overview of how EV drivers in seven European countries look at vehicle-to-anything (V2X) and smart charging
As part of SCALE, this year, the Dutch (VER) and Norwegian (Elbil) EV drivers’ associations, with the support of Global EV Alliance (GEVA) undertook an extensive survey on how electric drivers perceive V2X and smart charging. Over 3 000 EV drivers responded across seven European countries (Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Austria, Norway, and the Netherlands). The two EV associations also did in-depth expert interviews with representatives from EV drivers in these countries. The survey results were published in a SCALE deliverable (see deliverable at the bottom of the article).
An overview of the key findings from the survey:
- Respondents were aware of what smart charging is and were either willing or already doing it.
- Their motivations to do smart charging are the financial gains and because it is more environmentally friendly.
- Drivers want to have control and insights over the smart charging sessions.
- Most users trust OEMs or grid operators/electricity providers most to control their smart charging process. There are variations between countries: while in Poland, users trust car manufacturers twice as much as grid operators, in the Netherlands, it is the opposite. Many users stated that they only trust themselves and no third parties.
- Recommendations: Addressing user needs and expectations while effectively communicating the benefits of smart charging will be key to widespread adoption.
- Most drivers recognize the value of V2X with a strong preference for V2H (Vehicle to Home) options such as solar panels and smart house technology. Again, there are variations related to local context. In the Netherlands, 45% of users claimed they would want to use V2X to contribute to overall grid stability. This was the lowest priority for Norwegian EV drivers.
- 8 out of 10 EV drivers have concerns related to V2X adoption. The biggest ones are battery degradation (these where higher in countries with lower EV penetration rates), fears that their EV will not have enough battery capacity when they need it and handing over control of charging.
- The willingness to participate in V2G is not very high but increases a lot when there are financial benefits.
- It is crucial to differentiate between smart charging and V2X, as they represent distinct concepts that require a differentiation of strategies for adoption.
- The literature review shows a lack of consumer-oriented research on smart charging and V2X technology.
- The varying perceptions toward V2X adoption, concerns, and interests, needs to be taken into consideration when this new technology is being debated and developed.
EV Charging Infrastructure for improved User Experience: A priori user survey
eCharge4Drivers, a Horizon 2020 project (2020-2024), is enhancing the EV charging experience in urban areas and on trans-national corridors. It offers user-centric and interoperable solutions including improved charging infrastructure, e-mobility services and decision support tools.
What are EV drivers’ main barriers?
A survey undertaken in 2020 and 2023 by SBD Automotive showcases shifting EV drivers’ barriers as the market matures. Range anxiety and the price of EVs are decreasing barriers for drivers to get an EV.
A 2021 eCharge4Drivers survey (see publication at bottom of the article), which collected around 3 000 responses, found:
- Drivers prefer to charge at home. Around 90% of users charge at home, but also want access to public charging.
- They park for approximately 12 hours, ideal for smart charging services.
- Smart charging flexibility. Users can provide 45 min. – 3 hours of flexibility during slow charging and 30 min to an hour for fast chargers, with smart charging better suited for slow charging.
- Public charging point occupancy is low: it varies from 9% to 32% (in rare cases).
- Users are willing to pay more for fast charging solutions.
- Most survey respondents were male, suggesting a need to actively work on strategies to include women in the e-mobility evolution and make it more gender-balanced.
How can some of the EV users’ barriers be overcome?
- Implement pricing policies that are simple and transparent via mobile applications as well as on the charging station. Allow ad-hoc payment without any contract is crucial.
- Provide e-mobility services facilitating user’s accessibility and charging experience (routing, booking, smart charging).
- Offer diverse charging technologies (public/private, AC/DC) to adequately develop charging infrastructure, including V2X and options for light vehicles (e.g., battery swapping).
- Plan an adequate (public) charging network considering grid constraints and maximise the usage of existing charging network.
- Offer incentives and advanced tariffication schemes to support the wide deployment of charging infrastructure.
Successful deployment of smart charging in Grenoble
As part of eCharge4Drivers, a Grenoble demo is showcasing the correlation between EV charging and PV production (see powerpoint for diagrams). Smart charging was done in more than 90% of the cases by the users (it is an acceptable and beneficial service for EV users) and it led to a 20% cost reduction and a 95% increase in solar self-consumption.
Echarge4drivers is currently in the demo phase, testing smart tariff acceptance in Barcelona, exploring auto consumption in Grenoble, and gamifying charging certificates in Luxembourg.
Final discussion points during the panel
- Is there a European or common understanding of what V2X and smart charging is? No, and this may be complicated due to national variations in its conceptualisation and the number of parties involved.
- Is V2H popular because it’s what users understand best? It’s easier for users to see the benefits of Vehicle to Home because they can directly benefit from cheap and green energy, and financial gains. They have and see the direct connection between the home and the vehicle. It’s a great way forward to start the V2X transition. Overall, EV users want to know what and how they can benefit from smart charging or V2X.
- Business models. V2G and V2X are different concepts with various business opportunities. V2H is limited only to the house, but V2G could provide wider services to more stakeholders. However, currently there are few mechanisms to fully exploit the V2G functionality.
- There are still few V2X capable vehicles. For users, it’s not (really) possible for most EV drivers to use the technology yet. In addition, in most European countries, V2G is not possible especially in for public charging.