Electric vehicle Bosch enables fuss-free recharging throughout Europe
Bosch is developing recharging services that give drivers access to one of the largest Europe-wide recharging networks. Currently, they can find more than 150,000 charging points in 16 European countries with their smartphones. They can register, recharge and pay with just a few clicks.
The president of the Connected Mobility Solutions division of Robert Bosch GmbH quotes: "With our recharging services we are developing a universal key to one of the largest pan-European recharging networks. This will make electromobility even more sustainable,". Bosch offers its recharging solutions for private and business customers. And with location-based services, drivers can make better use of charging time.
Finding charge spots by app
A closely knit network of charge spots is regarded as a crucial factor in the decision to buy an electric car. The energy association BDEW puts the number of public and semi-public charge spots across Germany at 27,730 (figure at the end of March 2020). Respectable though this figure may be, the recharging access cards of the nearly 200 providers and operators frequently only work at certain charge spots. Added to this, there is a mishmash of terms and conditions, plug types, and charge-spot ratings. Bosch’s Europe-wide recharging network currently counts more than 150,000 charge spots, which drivers can access from one central app platform. The company has built the network by concluding contracts with operators and using methods such as roaming to connect the charge spots. As a result, more than 27,500 charge spots in Germany are now part of the network. For the drivers of electric cars, this means that they can use the proprietary Bosch app “Charge My EV” or affiliated providers such as “Clever Laden” to find vacant charge spots round the clock – whether in the neighborhood or when traveling. Moreover, the Bosch recharging network is constantly growing: by the end of 2020, it is expected to include some 200,000 charge spots across Europe.
In May, there were 288 car-electricity tariffs in Germany alone (source: EuPD Research, May 2020). For drivers, the end result of these almost endless options is a tariff tangle – all the more so now that many providers are switching from flat-rate charges to billing by the kilowatt-hour. Bosch takes the chore of comparing these tariffs off drivers’ hands, and gives them a clear breakdown of what they will have to pay at individual charge spots, and what terms and conditions apply. Unpleasant surprises when the final cost is revealed should now be a thing of the past. The company also wants to put an end to the plethora of recharging access cards. Nearly one in two (45 percent) of all electric-car drivers use two to four different cards to access charge spots, and 15 percent of them use at least five cards (source: NewMotion). To use the Bosch recharging services, by contrast, a single sign-on in the smartphone app is all that is needed. This means that it is at last possible for drivers to recharge wherever and whenever they want, without the inconvenience of first having to register at a previously unused charge spot. “Recharging has to be simple and smooth for everyone. Bosch’s smart recharging services are crucial for the widespread acceptance of electromobility,” Pritsch says. The Bosch solution also makes payment simpler: the app pays using the credit card details uploaded to it, and provides users with a monthly statement of recharging costs.
“In the future, recharging will be more than just filling up with electricity. The key for us here is a new personalization of the entire recharging process,” Pritsch says. In the shape of convenience charging, the company is developing an integrated navigation and recharging solution in which infotainment and the electrical powertrain go hand in hand. This will allow automakers and electric fleet operators to stand out from the competition by offering a new user experience as a relief from the drudgery of recharging. Convenience charging keeps drivers and electric vehicles constantly up to date on remaining range and where they can recharge their battery. If the originally planned charge spot is occupied, a new recharging stop is automatically rescheduled and the navigation system reprogrammed. Moreover, recommended routes and charge spots are adapted to drivers’ personal preferences. This can include the option to recharge especially quickly or economically, for example. Drivers can also instruct the system to look for charge spots close to restaurants or with free wi-fi. Convenience charging will allow drivers to make better use of recharging time. They can have purchases delivered directly to the charge spot, for example, and redeem coupons and vouchers in adjacent restaurants and shopping malls. One further plus point is that the navigation and recharging solution will never stop getting better, thanks to machine learning. As a result, recommendations and personalized services will improve with each recharging stop, and recharging will stop being just a chore.