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Price transparency via the app

European laws and regulations require any party that wants to sell something to indicate to the consumer in advance what the price is. This applies to the butcher on the corner, but also to the EV market, which for years focused mainly on technological innovation. To take our service to a higher level and to comply with regulations, as of December 1st all Last Mile Solutions apps show all price information before, after and during the charging session.

From charging for free to full price transparency
The EV market in The Netherlands started up in 2008 as an innovative project, in which existing cars were converted to electric and the first charging stations were assembled.

In those early days, charging was still free to stimulate electric driving, but as the number of electric vehicles and charging points increased and a price per kWh was introduced, there was pressure from legislation and regulations on the sector to clarify the costs of loading.

This meant that more information had to be shared than just the final price. To make this possible, systems and protocols had to be adapted. In 2012, a start was made on collecting all information about the locations of charging stations and the charging rates, but the quality of that database still left much to be desired.

The interests of stakeholders
In 2017 the ACM indicated that it would tolerate the situation for a while longer, but that clarity was needed. All parties in the chain – from operators of charging stations (CPO’s) to issuers of charging cards (e-MSP’s) – have their own interests. Price transparency would provide insight into where the money is earned, and so a political game arose.

In the following sector meeting a number of solutions were proposed, such as referring to a website on the charging station with an overview of the prices. But the price of a charging session consists of two components: the price you pay at the charging station (CPO), plus the price for using the charging card (e-MSP). Together they determine the final price. As CPO it is therefore difficult to say anything about the final price, because he does not know what the e-MSP charges. This stood in the way of real transparency.

Price transparency via the app - Last Mile Solutions

Always current price information in the app
In a package of demands ACM stated that the sector had to be price transparent as of December 1st 2020. We have done a lot of work to respond to this and take the app to a higher level. And that is reflected in the result.

We receive the price shown in the app in the following ways:

  • The price for charging within our network is determined and passed on to us by the charging station owner / operator;
  • We receive the price for charging from another party that uses a different network;
  • Not all providers (especially abroad) provide their prices. In that case we calculate an average price that matches the charging station. This price may be higher or lower than the customer is used to. As soon as we receive more price information from the owner of the charging station, we will adjust it. The price shown in the app is the price of the owner of the charging station, plus any costs of the service provider. It is always the price that is charged.
Price transparency via the app - Last Mile Solutions

All the apps we made for our providers went live in the app store before December 1st, containing all the new functionalities. In the meantime, we are optimizing the app continuously.

What’s next?
During the implementation of the new functionalities for presenting rates and costs quality complications were found in the exchange of price information. We are now consulting with the relevant market parties on how to improve this, so we can inform the EV-driver more accurately, taking into account the increasing dynamics in the pricing.

We are also working on making the exchange of charging prices easier and clearer. This means tightening and adapting the protocols used, a process that takes time as agreement is needed with all market parties within and outside the Netherlands.

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