When you first start driving an Electric Vehicle, it is an exciting yet nerve-racking experience. The thrill of instant torque and the serenity of a silent vehicle matched against the inevitable range-anxiety we have all faced at some point in our EV lives.
However, range anxiety is often something we worry about for no good reason. A more significant worry, or perhaps the root cause of many EV drivers anxiety, is uptime, or the availability of chargers.
A recent study published by Nissan shows that electric vehicle charging infrastructure is growing considerably in the UK. The report indicates that the current number of EV charging stations has risen to over 9000, rising above the 8400 traditional petrol stations which remain open in the UK today. Such a statistic is encouraging for the EV community. However, we should remember that EV drivers need charge points which are; working, easy to access, in a suitable location, and controlled by a trustworthy network.
At Alfa Power, we are continuously monitoring and discussing the feedback and comments we receive from our customers. Their input helps us improve as a company. It helps us make sure we provide the best possible service while also instilling confidence in our network.
Our desire to provide the best customer service on the most reliable network has led us to develop a new fault-finding mechanism for our systems. This new tool helps us to identify potential issues or queries before our customers visit a charger and report a problem.
As a company of EV drivers, an internal discussion was also carried out to explore the worries, issues and anxieties associated with driving an electric vehicle. We identified that the worst possible scenario is when you arrive at a charger, and the charger isn’t working or is out of service.
To combat this issue, we’ve have spent time with numerous hardware manufacturers and partners to identify the type of problems customers are facing while charging. This research helped us identify that signal connections can be a problem, along with the time taken to perform a “handshake”.
The handshake between the charger and the vehicle, which usually takes between 10-30 seconds, provides critical information for the charge session. The information provided establishes the SoC (Start of Charge), vehicle type, battery size and other environmental factors. These checks allow for the charger to give the maximum power required to the vehicle over a period of time. This process ensures you get the best possible power from the charger.
As signal connectivity can sometimes cause an issue, we also worked closely with our SIM provider to establish and implement a failover mechanism. This mechanism allows the SIM card inside our charger to roam and change networks when the signal strength is too low.
To maximise charger uptime, we are also working on various tools to help us identify issues before they affect end-users. These tools will allow us to get our team out to a site quickly, identify the problem and fix/propose a resolution for the issue.
We are continuously working on using the latest technology to integrate with our chargers, ensuring uptime is at its optimal levels. The feedback provided by our customers is crucial and is helping us to improve the Alfa Power charging experience.