Why are fast charging networks rushing to switch to kWh billing before summer?

Why are fast charging networks rushing to switch to kWh billing before summer?
Written by madishthestylebar

If Ionity has just shown the way by switching to energy pricing, other fast charging networks are working to switch to kWh billing in France. Indeed, in other European countries, the practice is already widespread, but France was an exception. Explanations.

In order to charge a recharge on the basis of kilowatt hours (kWh) consumed, it is necessary to do so on the basis of certified energy meters. For Alternating Current (AC) charging, no worries, meters that meet the MID (Measurement Instruments Directive) standard are widely used by the charging industry. Most low and medium power terminals up to 22 kW are equipped with it.

On the other hand, until recently, there was no real standard for the certification of meters in France. A legal vagueness that led to a bizarre situation: some operators like Ionity or Total refrained from charging per kWh while others, more daring, like Fastned, Tesla or Electra, did not hesitate to do so.

Since March 1, the rules that apply to the certification of these direct current electrical energy meters have been defined, paving the way for certification of equipment installed by operators and billing for the energy consumed. Finally, some will say, as the wait will have been long.

Fast-charging networks are now rushing to certify the meters of their various models of charging stations. The challenge ? Get ready for peak usage this summer. Indeed, billing per kWh is a key element of user satisfaction. The cost of recharging is much easier to estimate than when it is billed on a time-spent basis. It is difficult to anticipate the charging time of an electric car as it depends on many parameters: the battery level on arrival, the vehicle’s charging capacity, the power delivered by the charging station, the outside temperature , etc.

And in summer, the temperature has a key role. Many fast-charging terminals are not sheltered and find themselves in direct sunlight, strongly stressed by the multiple recharges that follow one another. They have difficulty cooling and their control software then reduces the power to heat less, increasing the recharging time in the process. A delicate situation when the service is invoiced on a time-spent basis… the support managers at the operators know something about it!

These regulatory developments and these pricing changes are therefore going in the right direction, that of customer satisfaction. However, there is still another problem to solve, that of evacuating vehicles that have finished charging as quickly as possible in order to allow other users to use the terminals. This is a crucial issue to avoid queues in front of chargers during peak traffic.

A situation that could quickly encourage operators to apply time-based billing triggered once the recharge is complete. A pricing model already implemented by a network that is years ahead of its competitors: Tesla Superchargers.

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