According to the research firm Frost & Sullivan, membership-based payment systems for electric car charging stations inhibit the adoption of electric vehicles due to inconvenience. But you can’t just give electricity away for free, so how do you fix this problem?
Under membership-based systems, prospective customers may be required to sign-up with companies like Ecotality in order to charge their electric vehicles. While membership models are sometimes offered with great financial benefits, not everyone is ready to tie themselves to any particular EV charging station company, especially with seemingly random saturation of charging stations. Locking users out of a charging station because they haven’t joined a membership program can be a real pain in the butt.
A possible solution is NFC (Near Field Communication). This enables customers to use their smartphones to authenticate their payment sources. The research firm Frost & Sullivan says that Near Field Communication is a “game changer” for plug-in vehicle adoption. But why not just add a debit or credit card swiper as well?
“The subscription method misses the opportunity to tap into current social trends and a connected community with its widespread adoption of smartphones and expectations for digital and real-time transactions,” observed Frost & Sullivan ICT Research Associate Shuba Ramkumar. These companies may be learning though, as Ecotality recently joined Chargepoint, allowing members of both companies to use either charging station. A step in the right direction, sure, but can membership models really work in the long run?
Source: Frost & Sullivan via Autoblog Green