Top class service arrives for EV customers
- 28 July 2011
By Robin Haycock, Head of Transport, The Climate Group.
Top class technology is all very well, but you need the customer value associated with the technology to be top class too, or mainstream scale-up won't happen as speedily as it should.
We've all heard about EV range anxiety, and thankfully companies are already providing solutions. On Monday EV company Coulomb Technologies announced that it has partnered with TomTom to offer an electric vehicle charger locator as well as reservation and information services, exclusive to plug-in cars.
With this partnership, coupled with the launch of fancy new smart phone apps from Nissan Leaf's and GM Volt which offer similar battery updates and station information, we are starting to see systems linking up to provide real customer value with these offerings.
On top of addressing range anxiety, these GPS models and apps are yet another one of the solutions that shows huge volumes of publically accessible charging infrastructure is not necessary, whilst the provision that is being installed will be utilised and provide value to the operators making business sense.
I had dinner with a senior member of IET last night, and they are looking into where they can support in exactly this kind of area so we can all progress faster in these emerging markets.
Businesses, government action, and bodies such as IET are all getting active and moving fast in this emerging and exciting area.
Another sparkling piece of evidence that EV technology is stepping up it's game in terms of customer value is British Gas's announcement last month of an electricity tariff to be launched next year, which is specifically designed for owners of electric cars.
This new tariff not only makes things easier for EV drivers, but cheaper too. Off-peak charges will fall by around 50% and charging cars overnight could save owners up to £1,200 a year.
Now if that isn't designed with the customer in mind...
Bundled solutions, simple tariffs, consumers given easy options and simple connections at home with clean neat and attractive charging facilities will all combine to make the running of an EV a pleasure, as well as cost effective.
Imagine seeing those satisfied EV drivers going past gas stations filled with people wasting time filling up and grimacing at the money extracted from their pockets at the tills.
One of the really interesting finds of the Mini E trials was that people who had never been interested in fuel prices suddenly took a keen interest and actually took pleasure in rising prices when they started to charge their vehicles at home!
From integrated charging station GPS systems to bundled solutions, simple tariffs and more charging facilities, we're really starting to see EV systems linking up to provide real customer value with these offerings.
After all, the customer's always right.