An EV industry reflection:
The top EV charging insights of 2022 and expectations for the year ahead
Before we drive into a new year, we want to offer you an opportunity to reflect on some of this year’s challenges and opportunities surrounding the EV charging experience (based on feedback gathered from EV drivers themselves), plus some of the top industry developments impacting the future of cleaner transportation.
2022 EV driver insights
Key industry developments
Addressing challenges in 2023
How EV drivers really felt about their charging experiences in 2022
Our annual EV Driver Survey research plays a critical role in understanding the modern EV driver, finding ways to accelerate mass EV adoption and improve the driving and charging experience.
Here's a glimpse at some of the top insights in EV charging in 2022, based on a survey of 15,000 drivers across Europe.
1. Range anxiety is (still) a factor influencing EV adoption
This year, the trend towards EVs deepened considerably. Our research showed that three-quarters of current electric drivers are now planning on buying a BEV as their next vehicle, while the proportion thinking of going back to fossil fuels has halved from four to two percent.
But what about those who still haven't made the transition? One potential reason is range anxiety - in fact when asked what would encourage greater EV adoption, our respondents highlighted the cost of vehicles, but this still came in behind problems around how far users can drive in an EV.
2. Charging availability is an attractive incentive to EV drivers
The availability of charging also plays a key role in the EV conversation, with 65% of EV drivers even choosing where they spend their money based on whether there's a charge point on site.
One promising avenue is the growth of charging availability in destinations like shops and entertainment centres, and that investment has to be incentivised with economic benefits for those destinations.
3. EV drivers prefer an interoperable approach to public charging
There was evidence in this year's data that those who only use one card for charging are doing so because simplicity is personally important to them, not just because their card offers them all of the charging access they need.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents with one charge card say they would pay slightly more for a universally interoperable card, compared to under half of those with four or more charge cards.
4. Drivers are balancing multiple apps to manage the EV experience
EV drivers are often being asked to hop between many different apps in order to manage their daily driving experience. A quarter of our respondents reported that they use five or more apps related to EV driving, and seven percent using over ten.
The issue is especially present in the UK, which reported by far the highest average number of apps, but the frustrating complexity of multiple app usage is spread across multiple markets.
5. EV drivers are excited about Integration with at-home renewables
EV drivers actually tend to take a very realistic view of the difficulties associated with charging, and are willing to adapt to the needs of charging infrastructure in order to make sure that the system as a whole works well for everyone.
For example, when the question of smart charging (which can, among other things, manage charging speed in line with the supply of renewable energy) is phrased in terms of smart services, around two-in-five are supportive of the idea. When scheduled charging is framed in terms of levelling out the overall demand on the grid, conversely, that number doubles to around four-in-five.
Plugging in to the EV industry
The key developments in 2022
This year’s EV driver insights showed that they are increasingly optimistic about contributing to a more sustainable future, which underpins the importance of international commitments such as EU’s Fit for 55 proposal and COP.
Around the world, both governmental policy and business innovation are increasingly aimed at meeting climate objectives, and EVs are poised to help deliver that future. Plug in to some of the top industry developments of this year.
1. ‘Fit for 55’ sets a tighter deadline for fleet electrification
The proposal to revise the CO2 emissions performance standards for cars and vans is part of the ‘Fit for 55’ package. In July 2021, the European Commission presented the package that aims to enable the EU to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels) and to achieve climate neutrality in 2050.
In summary, EU co-legislators agreed to a:
⚡ 55% CO2 emission reduction target for new cars and a 50% CO2 reduction for new vans by 2030 (compared to 2021 levels)
⚡100% CO2 emission reduction target for both new cars and vans by 2035
For fleet owners, ‘Fit for 55’ accelerates the need to electrify. According to the regulation, “every manufacturer must ensure that the average CO2 emissions from its fleet of newly registered vehicles in a calendar year do not exceed its specific annual emissions target.”
2. AFIR creates opportunities for businesses to scale their EV efforts
One key step in the EU’s journey toward reaching climate neutrality by 2050 is reducing the use of fossil fuels in transport (both in air, on land and at sea). To achieve this goal, there needs to be a solid alternative fuel infrastructure in place that enables better access to charging. The Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation – part of the Fit for 55 package – sets concrete targets for deploying this infrastructure across the EU in the coming years.
Part of this objective is the need to make it even easier for companies to build more EV charging and support greater EV adoption at large. For businesses and destinations, this includes introducing opportunities like:
⚡Easy, flexible payment methods for charging sessions
⚡Charge points with smart functionalities - from scheduled charging capabilities to data insights on usage
By planning for a manageable, flexible, scalable charging infrastructure, businesses will be able to not just keep up with, but get the most out of the EV revolution.
3. COP-27 focuses on the bigger picture - and so are EV drivers
We couldn’t discuss industry developments without mentioning the Conference of Parties (COP for short) - an annual event that brings together governments of the world for nearly three decades. 2022’s conference took place in November, and like previous years, it focused on one goal: to agree on a plan to tackle climate change.
One key part of addressing this challenge, of course, lies in making EVs and the charging experience as accessible, simple and scalable as possible.
4. UK EV drivers stand to benefit from updated smart charging regulations
As EVs continue to play an increasing role in the energy transition, the UK’s new smart charging regulations are a first step in helping ensure that charge points have the functionality to charge smartly and in a cost-effective way. For EV drivers, this means:
⚡ More renewable-conscious charging: Because EV drivers are encouraged to charge during off-peak hours, this helps reduce the reliance on gas-fired power stations needed during periods of high demand.
⚡ A better user experience: Mandatory online connection of charge points means that drivers will benefit from additional functionality like remote control, access to visible insights and history around charging, energy usage and costs.
⚡ Reduced EV charging costs: Drivers can benefit from reduced energy bills as new charge points will allow drivers to set their own charging schedules to utilise cheaper overnight energy tariffs.
Addressing key challenges in the EV industry in 2023
While EV drivers communicated what their biggest pain points and priorities are in their EV charging experience, there are steps you can start taking today to steer them in the right direction.
While there are many areas of the EV charging experience that need improvement, we’re shining a light on some of the top challenges that should remain top of mind in the coming year.
1. The challenge of charging infrastructure
Our research this year showed that 55% of EV drivers in Europe are concerned that charging infrastructure won’t keep pace with growing demand.
The reality is that the future of charging infrastructure is about more than putting physical devices in the ground. The most successful charging initiatives will be those that see charging as an ecosystem of technologies and services that support each other.
When you think about charging as an ecosystem, consider factors like:
The software that is used to manage it
How users can access it simply and intuitively
Long-term support for maintenance and upgrades
How the system can scale up to greater demand in the future
With this level of investment, building solutions for the long term is key: from a cost perspective alone, retrofitting systems is significantly more expensive than planning ahead. And by focusing on designing for future growth, implementing smart approaches to charging, and managing energy usage requirements today, you can build a clear vision that makes scaling infrastructure less daunting.
2. The challenge of smart(er) charging
This year, nearly three quarters of EV drivers agreed that EV adoption is not just good for the environment, but also critical to the energy transition. And when it comes to how you can encourage drivers to go electric, nearly 60% of the EV drivers said that smart charge points would be a good way of encouraging the transition.
But what makes a charge point ‘smart’ and how can you use them to scale your EV efforts? Charge points become ‘smart’ when connected online to benefit from software and services. By using a sim card or ethernet cable, smart charge points are able to communicate with other cloud-connected systems, and enables EV charging to combine with payment functionalities and data insights. They also make it possible to spread a peak energy demand over time, while supporting the use of renewable energy for EV charging.
3. The challenge of higher electricity demand
Research from Cornwall Insights revealed that, by 2040, the UK could see an additional 71.6TWh of electricity demand due to EVs - 31 times higher than the current level of demand for electrified transport.
While this raises concern around the generation and network availability expanding to manage this demand (both in the UK and in other countries seeing similar demand), one new possibility arises: that the growth of EVs can actually offer a new source of distributed energy resource that brings more flexibility to the charging experience. For example, smart charging could enable load shifting, with many EV charging apps now providing drivers with the ability to schedule charging sessions based on multiple factors. One critical opportunity is the ability to automatically set a vehicle to charge when there is an excess of renewable energy on the grid, which helps to shift demand and avoid curtailment.
Interested in a complete roundup of EV driver insights?
To start preparing for the year ahead, download the full EV Driver Survey report and plug in to even more market insights, and stay tuned for our 2023 edition coming in May.
Can you guess how many kWs EV drivers charged in 2022?
Get a detailed look at how EV drivers have powered the road this year: from the the total number of KWh charged, to the average number of hours per charging session, to the top cities they visited on their electric journey.