EV Charging

Blog: What it Takes to Accelerate EV Charging in Retail

September 20, 2021  |  WOLFGANG KÜNKLER

In our recent Sustainability Playbook, we explored how more and more consumers expect a shopping experience they consider sustainable and ethical. Delivering on that expectation requires investments in energy-saving and waste-reducing store technologies, such as reverse-vending machines, digital receipts and POS hardware built with reusable materials. Outside the store, retailers can further reduce their ecological footprint by providing electric car charging stations in their parking lots and implementing store roofs with solar cell systems to generate green energy.

Retail Sustainability Initiatives are Exploding in Popularity
Retailers around the globe are integrating sustainability into their daily operations. Aldi Denmark is incorporating several eco-friendly initiatives as it builds new stores. The grocer is introducing solar cell systems on roofs, charging stations for electric cars, and energy-saving equipment inside its stores.

Aldi Süd, which had already been using “green trucks” to supply its stores, has decided to install an additional 1,500 charging stations for electric cars at its German branches over the next five years.

Tesco recently opened a sustainable superstore to help achieve its 2035 carbon-neutral target. The superstore features energy-efficient equipment and a plastics recycling facility. It also provides EV charging points for consumers at the parking lot. Meanwhile, retailers like WHSmith, Costa Coffee, Post Office, Booths and Gourmade are working together alongside their charging infrastructure partners to deliver the UK’s first electric forecourt.

The Fragmented Technology Landscape Breeds Complexity
As this snapshot of sustainability initiatives shows, many retailers are investing in electric vehicle charging points. However, each retailer is planning its own course of action, and many EV charging technology providers have jumped onto the bandwagon. The result is a highly fragmented and dynamic landscape of initiatives and technologies, one that is increasingly difficult for retailers to manage and operate. This is especially the case in Europe where the market for e-mobility has not yet consolidated.

The e-mobility supply chain involves several suppliers and uses various technologies in order to get electricity delivered to a car driver. For example, charging equipment providers, often called charging point operators (CPOs), install and operate charging stations on behalf of retailers. These CPOs usually do not work directly with end customers, they merely provide the charging station hardware and resell the electricity from dedicated energy suppliers. In addition, you will come across e-Mobility Providers (EMPs) who typically manage the customer-facing process of authenticating and approving a driver before they can start charging the vehicle, and of the billing and payment process afterwards. To make matters even more convoluted, some of these EMPs are also CPOs who build and install their own charging stations.

For retailers, it can be a complex landscape to manage. EV charging comes with yet another set of consumer-facing technologies and equipment that must be managed along with the rest of their store infrastructure. It’s equally complex for CPOs and EMPs, as they need to be embedded into very specific—and typically customized—store technology infrastructures. Integrations with payment terminals, POS and billing software, loyalty solutions and country-specific fiscalization regulations often lead to headaches, as they attempt to manage operations in a profitable way while still meeting high availability rates of >99% uptime as demanded by retailers. Effective management requires a global services organization with an in-depth understanding of the retail processes and store technologies involved to support staff and consumers timely and efficiently.

Diebold Nixdorf: A Comprehensive EV Charging Service Partner
As the No. 1 provider of retail systems in Europe, with 9 out of 10 of the global Fortune 500 petroleum companies among our clients, at Diebold Nixdorf we have the experience and capabilities to support this new trend from strategy to implementation through the entire lifecycle. Our global service network supports retailers in 100+ countries and more than 25 different languages. We already partner with several leading vendors in this domain, and offer hardware-agnostic installation services as well as break-fix, preventive maintenance and service desk services, along with vast expertise in the payments domain as well.

Relying on Diebold Nixdorf as your service partner for EV charging is a win-win for everyone involved, from CPOs to EMPs and retailers, driving accelerated hardware deployment and proactive maintenance at lower costs. Whenever problems arise, your retail organization will have a single point of contact who “speaks retail” and can oversee the entire multivendor IT ecosystem. With a single, experienced partner you can improve uptime at your charging stations and increase consumer satisfaction, solving inefficiencies and reducing TCO. Our industry-accepted service level agreements mean EV hardware manufacturers don’t have to think about how to fund and build their own global service organization, and can instead focus on rapid business expansion across multiple countries in the fast-growing market of EV charging.

We have entered this market at a critical time when many hardware manufacturers are seeking to offer better service level agreements, but they’re simply growing too fast to be able to ramp up their own service organization from scratch. Diebold Nixdorf’s services organization is in the sweet spot, able to help both hardware manufacturers and retailers participate successfully in this fast-growing market of electric vehicle charging.

Let’s discuss how we can help you identify new opportunities to leverage this quickly evolving space.