What challenges do you need to be aware of when starting your own EV Charging business?

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EV_Charging with Virta Play
Ilkka Koisti

Business Development Director at Virta

Christian Henke

Director of Product Marketing at EMnify

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EV_Charging with Virta Play

What you'll learn in this webinar

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How to overcome most common bottlenecks when entering EV charging business?

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How to operate and generate revenue with an EV Charging business

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What is coming in the future for EV charging? Vehicle to Grid?


With the new EU decision to cut emissions by 55% by 2030, electrical vehicles will get another growth spurt and we can already see an increase of manufacturers and infrastructure providers.
In this webinar, Christian Henke of EMnify asks industry expert Illka Koisti of Virta - What do you need to be aware of while starting your own EV Charging business?

Topics discussed:
  • Introduction of the topic
  • A little about Virta Global
  • Technical challenges to operate EV Charging Businesses
  • Operational costs and efforts
  • Connectivity 
  • Revenue model
  • Future of EV Charging

Video Transcript

hello welcome to another episode of the iot webinar series my name is Christian Henke and I'm the director of product marketing at EMnify we know building IoT products is complex and this is why I'm inviting to every episode IoT industry expert the expert will give you key tips and tricks on how to solve technical challenges and how to scale your product and operation if you like the topic or have suggestions for a new one subscribe to our EMnify YouTube channel and leave a comment now let's get started

[Chriatian:] hello a summer welcome from Berlin i'm really looking forward to this episode because today we're going to talk about ev charging the cars and technologies they're already there like in Netherlands where they're fully buying into this solution i still remember when two years ago i went to Amsterdam and a fleet of wing door Teslas greeted me i was really surprised that Netherlands is already that far and with the new EU decision to cut emissions by 35% by 2030 i think electrical vehicles will get another growth spurt and i can already see an increase of manufacturers and also infrastructure providers therefore I'm really really happy to have an industry expert with me today Illka Koisti from Virta global Illka is the business development director of Virta a global ev charging solution provider hello how are you today Christian thank you good today we will talk about all the challenges and solutions when you want to build and operate an ev charging solution before we start the discussion i want to let you know the audience that you can also ask questions just hit the question mark on the go-to webinar menu and then you're able to ask questions and i will directly include them in in our discussion so let's get started Illka as an introduction can you maybe give a little bit of background around yourself and Virta which problems do you solve all right thank you christian yes Illka Koisti from Virta and

based in Helsinki in Finland and been working in Virta for now four years and been settling and this is developing with the customers of course their their challenges on entering the and opportunities enter into the ev charging business and uh before that i have been actually working with telecom operators a lot from the vendor side but also on the on the other side of the table as a customer for the Ericsson and Nokia as a hardware vendors for for them and it has been very interesting time as well because actually the architecture and the solution wise it's quite close also how telecom operators and also the ev charting operators are operating even using the same terms like roaming and such stuff so that's the about me about the Virta itself been around now as an EV charging solution provided for customers not only a controller management part but also first time call center all the way automated processes from factory to the site and installation of the charges but also finding more and more value actually from taking care of also the financial structure of the customer so collecting the money from the individuals ev drivers and then let's say paying for the charge point owners of their revenue what they earn from that charge one of course charge point owners still can set up the prices and so on but we are not only a toolbox so that's for sure so we do more also as a service for our customers so they don't need to operate the charges by themselves and at the moment i think on the um on this kind of triangle that we are controlling more than 300 000 actually already active users utilizing the charting services and we basically last year through our system it was about 51 gigahertz hours of energy that was charged to the electric vehicles so it's quite a lot of energy already and the fun part of this is that the actually actually reading a lot right now even people are not necessarily moving that much anymore with their evs at the moment because of the covet but still we see the rise of energy and perception how much people are charging and i think now at the moment we have about 35 000 directly connected charging points to our back office and uh yeah what is actually very interesting as well uh approximately 80 000 liters of fossil fuel is saved every day when the vehicle system is utilized that's a lot of gasoline and diesel at the moment and it's growing a lot and of course we're growing very rapidly at the moment and financial times has been also rewarding us that okay we are one of the biggest let's say fastest growing companies in the europe specifically on this ev charging business and uh this is very interesting yeah i i think it's a great great industry to be in now you've used let's say improve the world in a sense there's your economy and also it's a growth growth market really a nice nice situation you're in and what i like around virta is that you're basically offering the the full stack so you help basically companies or businesses run run an operation system so they can also participate in this growth yeah so that's that's that's nice yes um um maybe um you know i always i'm i'm a product manager by heart and i always like the technical stuff right so i want to know hey what what are the challenges that you know the the the solution solves and maybe we can go a little bit in the technical stuff so i i understand in terms of power load balancing and you know the impact of the grid this charging station obviously have an impact um but what are also other other challenges that businesses are stumbling into when they want to deploy an ev charging solution all right um this picture basically shows a little bit that the different parties involved in this this whole charging business as well and the industry is quite young and uh there's a great protocol called ocpp between the charging station at back office uh unfortunately it's not really a standard that is everyone complying in the same way so at the moment for example we're handling 150 different variations of ocp product and that means basically that every time when a new charging station vendor comes into our customers network we need to test that the protocol works and i can assure you that it does not always work so that is something that we need to be careful when we select the new hardware vendors into our customers network because there will be only a cray here and of course the worst thing is that the ev driver will be disappointed with the service does not work and this is critical for our customers because most of the case their brand is on the charting station and if the customer is frustrated at the charger and can't get charged his or her car the brand will get the blame and of course you lose the possibility to sell the energy as well for the customer it's excellent double or even triple pay for the charge point owners so we you actually use quite a lot of time with our customers to talk with them and hey follow we have a quite great statistics which charts taste and vendors are working well and which doesn't will that work that well so that is of course one thing the other thing is that the word roaming what i already mentioned it's actually a little bit more complicated than teleco so mobile operator roaming when you cross the border now the charging stations in the city or whatever location can be next to each other let's say one meter away or two meters away but still those operators are different so the roaming between those two charges has to be decided if that is strategically writing to do which we believe and then of course if that is technical as well possible so there is much much more roaming activities than compared to the telco operators so this roaming actually is is giving a lot of new business opportunities for our customers but it has to work technically as well and of course there's another protocol called ocpi which can be utilized for the rolling services there are also some roaming hub service providers which are connecting number of different platforms together but more and more we see now direct peer-to-peer connection between the roaming parties so they actually try to avoid the extra possible cost from the roaming up service provider what we have seen from our customer feedback then of course we go lay higher in the layer what is very very interesting and actually growing business as well how the charting stations and their owners can participate to the energy market and in practice it means that how those charges uh can be for example in the load situation on the creep side how to cut the energy of the charging power to shave the peaks of the network there's a monetary value on that for our customers there's also a possibility to charge with higher power when the energy cost is lower and when the cost is higher let's say there you had pricing for example in the networks we can also boost the charging and we have already seen in europe uh negative price of the energy and that practically means that of course if the price is negative you get money when you charge your car and that's quite interesting business case as well so as our governments and human beings and people they want to use law more local power production like solar and wind it requires also balancing because it's not stable when the sun is shining and not mint so it requires stabling and that's also another business opportunity with the stationary energy storages which we also control so in the ecosystem we actually construct chargers and we control also the local energy storages and these local energy storages they can be either vehicle-to-grid in the car so car can also discharge the battery back to the grid or there's also new stationary batteries or energy storages which we also call from and then we get load balancing functions we get the market rising components and then of course we get them we call them virtual private plants or let's say virtual power plants where customers try to utilize as much as possible energy inside of their own ecosystem and not selling or buying energy from the let's secret order so that is also uh interesting what is happening in in the proof of concept and also commercial side as well the UK is very ahead of time and also let's say Scandinavia and of course Belgium and Holland is coming there uh German and France they are coming as well but now i see that the UK is taking the giant leap at the moment with this kind of new renewable balancing and renewal production av charging vehicle-to-grid stuff and of course now we talk about the the customer ev elected vehicles but there's also buses which we are also gone through the bus charges and of course the last mile delivery events they are very interesting business case because now we get more and more uh web shopping and of course the last month delivery it's getting more and more done with the electric vans as a last month delivery so those are also rising rising business opportunity definitely there always trucks let's see time will show how how the pattern on energy storage technology will evolve but at the moment not that much uh it's focusing on the last month delivery runs electric vehicles and of course some electric flight scooters and motorbikes

did i miss anything no so for me it's super interesting to to see you know that it's not you know some like when you think about an ev charging station i was first like okay i put a power plug somewhere and i need to have some some back end that collects the data or that how long the the power plug was used but actually it's way more right so so you need also the the the back-end functionality you need to do the load balancing and and this is you know to show it's not as easy as it seems from the outside there are a lot of pieces you can stamp your absolute right and actually i didn't even mention the security security securities very interesting topic and hot topic as well how to secure that no non-authorized utilization of the ev charging non-advertised fraud can not be done on these elected vehicles it's a big opportunity to to of course save that that will not neither happen and of course data analysts how to analyze the data of human behavior how to invest in energy consumption how to foresee the future how to build the plants and so on so it's it's getting very interesting and actually if if you look about this next slide which you turn that is more like focusing on the energy management and as i said to sell the energy from the charting station it's one business opportunity but there's a lot more business opportunity also on the energy market participation as a balancing

activities and this is something that we see more and more example the buildings property owners they are investing for the world guys they're investing the local stationary batteries to be as independent as possible from the external power and grid and then of course ev charging is one balancing activity which could be utilized on those those uh buildings or properties okay one thing that i'm always interested yeah so we talked around this technical challenges to set up a solution but you know i always see the the cost not only in setting up but also in operations right where do you see like say the operational costs and effort for keeping it up um of course we are strong believer of the digitalization so that basically means how to automate much of these things and how to make a user and end user interface so easy to use that they don't contact the call center because every call to the call center costs money and that's why we believe that we want to make it very easy to use and simple to understand if you need to write text probably have missed the point we we try to utilize always assume both so that you don't need to understand even english or german or french or dutch or whatever and you can still survive and that's very crucial uh otherwise you it will be too much labor intensive and of course that play brings individual cost of the money yeah that's that's what we see that you don't want to go outside if you have multiple ev charging stations or you know from other other business partners devices outside you don't want to do you don't want to go out there to fix it so you need to have capabilities to fix it remotely and to operate it yes yeah yeah let's go ahead and and i think that probably go gives also us a kind of a bridge to the connectivity piece right so um we as a connectivity provider of course we want to uh want to understand how relevant is connectivity for the ev charging operation well christian you said it there's no connectivity there's no control um and of course that the charges are built and the backup is built so that when you have a connectivity you have a power to control it and you can collect the money you're going to authorize the customers and so on so on so it's very good but if you lose the connectivity for a while uh the charging stations will actually collect data and whenever they get the connection back uh the data what has been collected will will be uploaded to the back office and then the money collection and authorization can be done again online

okay so for the connectivity part and of course we at the back of this vendor and also our customers we guide them heavily that we don't actually allow them to connect the charges without the secure without secure connection to the back office um we want that no one can detect the data what has been communicated between the back office and um and the charger this not really going through any credit card details but of course there's going user id where and how they have been utilizing the charging network so that is something that we want to keep very top secret and as well

when we authenticate the customers we want them to be authenticated so that no one is making fraud between the authentication because someone is paying that energy anyway so we want to secure the payment is also collected to the from the right customer and there's actually even more worse case scenario if those charges would not be connected cleverly with the vpn for example with the security uh someone might hijack the charges and it has happened a couple times but the customer has realized that someone is making the let's say active denial of attack from those charges and bombarding let's say the national bank or national newspapers from the charges and of course the two things you can't use the charger when it's when it's being just some newspaper ahead let's say newspapers main page and of course at the same time you are losing a lot of data connectivity because you're paying for the data which you move and that will cost you again a lot of money and of course the customer will get not the service from the charge or it's a triple bat again and of course the reputation will be the fourth bank that your charger has been causing problems so that is the reason why we don't actually allow our customers to connect uh charges without secure connection to our backups yeah and we see this through those throughout the industry so an ev charging vpn is the standard setup and it's really mandatory to to run the service because the charging station itself do not provide a proper end-to-end encryption

now i think we have already seen the slide so let's go back to the to the slide around the business model right so um you talked a little bit about around ev roaming as a traditional model to generate revenue but how does it work are there any pitfalls or anything you know you want to highlight yeah as i mentioned the roaming is a little bit more complicated compared to the mobile daily operators uh so this we call them this your own charging network and then inside of the virta platform you can have internal roaming so the customers customers are coming from the same platform side so we call them internal roaming so that's the most cost effective roaming what you can do there's no extra piece anything on top of that okay if the customer wants to put their extra fees they can but of course now we see that that's not the trend they allow customers to charge in their networks without an extra rolling charge because for them it does not cost anything more then on the right hand side you see ocpi peer-to-peer roaming and that is now also a trend major customers are connecting their back offices directly through this protocol and they basically avoid the hard roaming service providers which of course they need to make their living as well so they are putting some share of the revenue when it's going through the hub roaming on the left-hand side so the growing trend is they use more and more internal charging network roaming and also peer-to-peer services through the ocpi with hub roaming of course you can get faster or larger coverage of your service network but now we see that the coverage is getting better and better every day now we just need volumes and the price sensitiveness of the cost of the charging is getting more critical and that's why the peer-to-peer roaming activities has been very very active and hot plate so what other revenue models do you see besides ev roaming it's sorry besides ev roaming like all right so okay if you're roaming is this of course it's when you collect the money of charging even but as i mentioned the energy balancing activities that is a growing trend also to earn more money either the charge point owner is earning maybe some money of revenues from that but he or she is also sharing part of that revenue for the ev driver because ev driver is committing to connect the car to the charging station and then of course that connectivity between the car and charging station through the cable is securing that the cars is available for the balancing activities for the network and we need to remember that one or ten or 100 cars is not the case you need to have a bigger number of elected vehicles when you participate to the market but you're going to quite easily calculate that if your car is taking let's say 11 kilowatt and if you put the 1000 charges which is connected to the car and statistically we see that okay most of the time thirty forty percent of the vehicles are connected to the charger it's giving you already five uh five thousand gigabytes of assemb as an asset to participate in its balancing activities and when you have 100 000 cars or 80 vehicles charging stations connected by you or when you have one million you know then we talk about terra what's already of energy which you can contrast with balancing activity so there's also a big future of the revenue coming

cool then then i will switch back just shortly on on the connectivity piece because i guess that's that's that's one of our uh maybe customers that asking that but how much data per month on average does a charging station use that's a good question it's a good question and then it's up to actually the customer how frequently the customer charge point owner wants to update the availability status of the to the mobile application or to the some website where the people can check if the charger is available or not so it's basically also the other parameters the heartbeat that i'm telling the charter is telling to the customer to the lack of this i'm alive i'm alive i'm alive everything is okay or how frequently you update while you are charging your kilowatts so some customers are complaining oh i i'm charging my car and on my mobile it's very very slowly updating how much energy the car has been taken in already the reason for that is that the operators is trying to find the balance because of the data consumption if you update the data if you update the um energy consumption every second okay it will cost you more than if you do it once a minute basically and same thing for the heartbeat so it depends how frequently you want to show the platform and for the mobile applications behind that uh platform that how how the charting station is available is it broken or is there someone reserving that so it's balanced but let's say if you reserve about three meg megabytes per month per charge or socket it should be okay again if you update the software remotely as we do for those charges uh of course that easily takes let's say five minutes in in a half a year uh if the software is updated again another thing and that is actually reminds me some of the customers early days they utilize prepaid data cards and of course that was a nightmare because the data just ran out and you lost a connection to the charger totally and then you don't even know is the charger problem or is it the vpn connection problem what is the wrong problem because charges just disappeared after the prepaid data card has been let's say utilize all the data and then you lose revenue right so because you cannot get the next exactly exactly so it's a balancing activity but i would say that 3mag is quite a good number uh but also as i said there's 150 different variants in our network about ocpp implementation so that is also telling you that there's definitely the number of different way to handle the heartbeat status updates and so on yeah and as you also perfectly said it's per socket right so usually uh behind the sim card there might be multiple sockets so so we see also a wide range of our iv charging customers that they have from three to 200 meg per month basically dependent also on the frequency people are charging yes and as i said how frequently they are okay heartbeat is not that much data but if you are updating the energy amount how much of charging even has been utilizing every second or every 10 seconds there's a 10 times difference and when you have a one million charges you can imagine the amount of data um we're already getting on top of the the 30 minutes that we scheduled because we don't want to let's say uh take the people for a full full hour in the show so final question um um if there's nothing else from from the audience here please audience just ask your questions we will still pick keep them up but um what do you see as coming in the future for ev charging okay i see the hottest trend is throughout the roaming it's a balance between coverage and the cost and now we see that the ev drivers are pushing more now the cost instead of the coverage what they did let's say one year ago so the cost is now driving factor where they will charge where is the cost most effective service and that also tells to our customers of course our we're the customers that who serves them best most effective so that no hidden costs are coming on top of the charging uh cost what they ask from the ev drivers that is now its cost effectiveness gain at the moment under roaming and then additional revenues are starting to fly in from the energy market participation as a policy balancing the charging network based on the grid requirements maybe the frequency of the grid is getting lower in certain times of the day okay i will then lose some power from my charges under and the frequency will be back again and remember these balancing activities are not like hours long they're minutes max so the end user EV driver don't really has recognized that okay the charger power was dropped let's say one minute from 11 kilowatt to six yeah kilowatt i kind of like the idea of crowdsource battery uh and balancing it's it's really a nice idea and i hope that this really will help uh balancing out our our energy problems baker i i think we're we're at the end of of the session so i'm really really thankful that you that you visit us in the in this series and shared your expertise i think it was really great insights and and um also for the audience that you that you liked what we have presented and that you get deeper inside what's needed to run ev charging business if you want to talk about running one please uh please um reach out to Illka where can can you be reached actually on the bottom

global we have very strange this email address and it's not.com it's weird.global but my first name family name and then with the global there you can reach me as well okay specifically if you are looking for someone helping you to put up the business and uh and and we can operate and run that very nicely for you and i have to admit is i think it's really worth to visit your website i really like the style of Virta global how you're communicating it was it was fun talking with the team of yours and also thank you and visiting with the website yeah thank you Christian okay then and with that i would end the webinar and um thanks for joining i hope you will see you as audience in another webinar as well please let us know what you think you can go to our youtube channel or just send me personally an email or look up on on linkedin christian hanke at emnify.com okay thanks Illka and bye bye

About the speakers

Ilkka - Virta
virta logo-37-1

Ilkka Koisti

Business Development Director

Ilkka has been with Virta for three years and has been growing the EV charging platform business on different customer segments, example Real Estate and Energy. Previously Ilkka was leading DC and AC EV charging station global sales at Ensto for three years.


Christian Henke

Director of Product Marketing at EMnify

Christian is the Director of Product Marketing at EMnify and responsible for driving the strategy, roadmap and go-to-market for EMnify’s cloud-native mobile core network and connectivity management platform. Focusing on customer experience for Enterprises he is not only concerned about connecting things but also how to integrate cellular connectivity in the most simplest way.