The Green eMotion project and the road to ubiquitous electromobility
Let me tell you about the Greens, a family who recently purchased an electric car as their second vehicle. Their reasons for buying an electric vehicle were very emotion-based: The car offers nearly silent running and unique acceleration, and they can charge it at home using power they generate themselves through a photovoltaic system.
Unfortunately, their emotion-based decision came with drawbacks: The electric vehicle’s range is limited, and public charging stations are few. Recharging their car when driving in the countryside—or even when out and about the city—can be a daunting proposition. Mr. Green, who occasionally uses their electric vehicle to take business trips in the immediate vicinity, often has to consider whether he can reach his destination without running out of juice.
Worse still, the public charging stations that do exist are offered by a range of providers and require a smorgasbord of RFID cards and smartphone apps, not to mention contracts, pre-paid arrangements and the like. For these reasons and more, the Greens have difficulty charging their electric vehicle away from home, a feat that requires not only locating a charging station within range, but sometimes also reserving its use ahead of time.
Creating a marketplace for mobility
Fortunately for the Green family, the Green eMotion project was brought into being to solve just such problems as these. To start with, offering e-mobility services throughout Europe, such as location and reservation of charging stations, requires that participating information and communications technology (ICT) systems be networked together—thus the introduction of the Green eMotion Marketplace, hosted in the IBM cloud and designed to connect European electric vehicle (EV) services providers with charging station operators.
Thanks to contractual arrangements made possible by the marketplace, drivers can now charge their electric vehicles at charging stations regardless who operates a particular station; rather, driver simply pays the EV services provider, either for services actually used or according to a flat rate. The charging station operator, who does not interact directly with drivers, receives payment for the use of the charging station from the EV services provider, through an electronic clearinghouse. At the same time, EV services providers can offer drivers value-added services—such as charging station location or reservation—using marketplace data about connected charging stations.
Bringing e-mobility to the masses
This business-to-business (B2B) marketplace connects e-mobility participants across Europe, including EV services providers, charging station operators, power companies and value-adding services providers. Using the marketplace, participants can offer many different services throughout Europe, including roaming use of charging stations located outside a customer’s contractually stipulated service area. As other service providers join the marketplace, they can take full advantage of an infrastructure designed to stimulate competition by bringing innovative e-mobility concepts to customers.
The principal advantage of the Green eMotion Marketplace, which has been implemented using a flexible IBM cloud infrastructure, is the concomitant reduction in numbers of interfaces between participants. What’s more, by acting as a routing system or broker, the marketplace also becomes suitable for handling data flows in a mass market, a feature that many hope will help extend its life. For more information about the implementation of the marketplace, refer to the technical description of both its architecture and interfaces, available to the public on the Green eMotion website.
Most Green eMotion demonstration regions in Europe implemented marketplace transactions, and their experiences lend support to the concept’s workability. By connecting their own IT systems to the marketplace using open interfaces, participating regions were able to facilitate Europe-wide roaming using the clearinghouse service, as well as publicly accessible service searches for charging station locations.
Looking ahead to European electromobility
The Green eMotion project demonstrates the feasibility of a convenient, easy-to-use European infrastructure for drivers of electric vehicles. However, such an infrastructure requires IT system connectivity that allows providers of e-mobility services to offer their services to customers throughout Europe. Accordingly, commercial operators can build on Green eMotion’s groundbreaking architecture and interfaces, using IBM Marketplace to provide a permanent solution for Europe that is designed to also extend connectivity to other related solutions. In pursuit of this goal, the eMobility ICT Interoperability Innovation Group, an industry initiative founded in 2012 by Green eMotion, IBM and other industry partners, is developing standardized interfaces and business objects with an eye to attracting partners from other sectors.
In short, the members of the Green family have a bright future ahead of them. Thanks to the innovations springing from the Green eMotion project in collaboration with IBM, they can feel good about their vehicle not only locally, but across the whole of Europe.
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