When was the last time you researched electric vehicle charging station companies? Today? Five years ago? As more consumers, businesses, and governments switch to electric cars, more and more new charging station startups also enter the market. But not every EV charging company is the same. In fact, only a few both manufacture the hardware and design the charging network software. Here’s why it’s important to choose a fully integrated EV charging solution from a company that designs both.
A Quick Recap
First, let’s recap a few basic principles and terms. There are two main types of electric vehicle charging stations: non-networked and networked. These two types are also sometimes referred to as dumb and smart stations. Both kinds of charging stations deliver power to your vehicle. The difference is that networked stations have software that allows the station owner to restrict access, require a payment, or monitor usage. That’s why commercial facilities need networked charging stations. In recent years, many commercial property owners have either replaced their non-networked stations with networked stations, or they found a 3rd party product to add additional features to their non-networked station. Charging stations with full integration between hardware and network are best for commercial properties. SemaConnect is a fully integrated EV charging station Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and EV charging network provider.
When your EV charging stations and charging network are designed for each other, you get full functionality. If a charging network is meant to control the flow of power between charging station and vehicle, it should be designed for that specific station. In non-EV terms, think about installing Microsoft on an Apple computer: it works, but the hardware was designed with Apple software in mind, so it will never be as perfect as the original software. With fully integrated charging stations, you get the best charging experience without the hassle of buying a 3rd party network add-on. SemaConnect station owners get full access to pricing, access control, remote monitoring, 24/7 customer support, and load management without purchasing an additional credit card reader or network chip. The software and hardware work hard-in-hand.
With fully integrated, networked charging stations, upgrades are easy. While some hardware upgrades may exist (for example, if you’re upgrading from 2G to 4G), most technical upgrades are, in fact, software features. That means that when you ask, “Are my SemaConnect charging stations future-proofed?” the answer is a definite “Yes!” A few months ago, we officially launched load management features on the SemaConnect Network. This software update allows station owners to manage power flow at their charging stations. It’s possible because SemaConnect charging stations are fully integrated with the SemaConnect Network. Stations installed prior to the upgrade received load management capabilities in the over-the-air software update because they were designed for future upgrades. Similarly, there are a few other features that some drivers request, but are not yet possible with the current vehicle technology. SemaConnect can easily add additional network features as vehicle standards progress.
Full Customer Support
Finally, a fully integrated EV charging solution means better customer support. Charging stations might go “down” due to network, hardware, or electrical issues. Other EV charging companies may be unable to diagnose an issue, or they may point fingers when the network and hardware disagree. But SemaConnect does everything including manufacturing, programming, and monitoring. In most cases, our team can perform remote diagnoses, remote resets, and remote updates. And if a remote update does not work, a SemaConnect technician can inspect the station itself and easily repair or replace the hardware. Full integration means complete customer care and a faster solution.
While there may be multiple EV charging station products, a fully integrated network and station provider is the best solution for commercial use. Ready to get started? Click here to request your quote for smart networked EV charging stations today!