The future of European e-mobility ecosystem needs open, secure, interoperable data

By Kristian Ruby, Secretary General, Eurelectric (pictured)
Spring 2024

Kristian Ruby, Secretary General, EurelectricElectric vehicles (EVs) are the future of road transport in Europe. 2023 witnessed a 25% surge in sales with battery and plug-in hybrid EVs (BEVs and PHEVs) accounting for more than one in five new cars sold. Three years ago, the same car models accounted for only one in 25 new cars sold. By 2030 some 75 million EVs are expected for European roads – shows our latest e-mobility report.

On the infrastructure side, EV fast chargers now boast ten times more power than five years ago, substantially cutting charging times. Meanwhile, battery costs are finally going down after an unprecedented price rise in 2022. Such growth is taking place across all markets which leads us to expect EV sales to outstrip all other vehicles by 2030.

This rEVolution, however, cannot be taken for granted based on compelling figures and performance boosts. It signals the need for an essential transformation of the existing mobility system, underpinned by effective cooperation between all key players.

The sheer complexity arising from the number of key actors who work around electric vehicles opens the door to many potential synergies: from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and automakers who develop vehicles’ hardware and software; to grid operators who provide grid connections; to charge point operators who plan and run charging stations; to e-mobility service providers who ensure charging services to EV drivers and manage transactions. Fostering collaboration between these players is pivotal to the success and seamless operation of the e-mobility ecosystem. The surest way to achieve that is with open, secure, interoperable data.

Data interoperability: the hidden engine of the e-mobility ecosystem
The entire e-mobility ecosystem is reliant on data. Data interoperability is not just a nice-to-have, it is the engine driving everything forward. Charging mechanisms, grid technologies, EV batteries and even customer behaviour insights all rely on the connections made through the sharing of data. We need to make these connections to ensure successful mass market uptake of EVs.

Think about what open and shareable data could do to improve system efficiency. EV drivers would be able to track all accessible charging stations across Europe. They would be able to charge their car regardless of the region and subscription they have thanks to charging roaming and interconnected payment mechanisms.

Consider how distribution system operators (DSOs) could improve EV integration into the grid thanks to a steady flow of shared data. They could capitalise on smart charging technologies to optimise grid capacity and reduce congestion.

And let's not forget how charge point operators (CPOs) will be able to plan the rollout of much-needed EV charging infrastructure with grid and vehicle data coming from DSOs and EV users.

If data from such activities is withheld or stored in silos, network efficiency will be negatively impacted, hampering the overall customer experience and negating any added value. A future of seamless e-mobility needs a united commitment to fair data sharing across the board.

  •  Its a whole ecosystem reliant on data; for charging, grids, batteries, customer behaviour etc...
  •  Three principal e-mobility activities that need data interoperability:
  •  Charging station optimisation, intelligent grid integration, optimised charging experience: explain these a bit further
  •  'Where data is withheld, or formats are inconsistent, there may be knock-on ramifications for efficiency across the network, ultimately impacting the overall customer experience and value.'
  •  'Data interoperability is critical for enabling the future state.' – good linking sentence for next paragraph

How do we enable data interoperability? We've now seen how harmonised data exchange can be applied to many challenges we face in the transition to e-mobility, addressing operational challenges within the ecosystem while improving the overall customer experience. But how can we enable this interoperability?

We at Eurelectric promote the idea that data should be open and shareable, while guarding the privacy of customers and supporting a healthy business environment. The Data Act with foreseen implementation in 2025, provides high-level principles for data sharing. The in-vehicle data act can apply these principles specifically to vehicle data.

Introducing standardised data collection to include the state of battery charge is a great way to inform CPOs and grid networks about likely demand and potential for flexibility services. The open and nondiscriminatory access to data should come at an affordable cost, and ensure fair compensation for data owners. Standardised agreements for customer consent, defining common data sets for transfer, and adhering to privacy protocols like GDPR should be upheld.

Getting it right: an eye on data security
Connected devices, including EVs and charging infrastructure, collect and store vast amounts of personal information, vehicle details, charging patterns and billing information. While this data needs to be connected and interoperable, we also realise that it must be secure.

Securing these data exchanges is essential for trust, especially when it comes to supply chains. The many connection points of operational and customer data come with the rise of cybersecurity breaches.

With each data exchange, the potential for these breaches looms larger, highlighting the need for robust data governance and trust.

Getting the mechanics of secure data interoperability right is essential. It creates connections that transcend traditional boundaries, allowing players to acquire new capabilities that go beyond their core activities in energy and mobility.

This opens the door to exciting crossovers and synergies across industry and infrastructure. The intricate web of e-mobility beckons, and key stakeholders will soon all be eager to join this transformation.

Further opening of the data layer will create the necessary conditions for interoperability, ultimately enhancing the customer experience. Therefore, our call to policymakers is clear – integrate safe data interoperability across all new e-mobility regulations, starting with the forthcoming invehicle data act. 'By getting the mechanics of data interoperability right, connections will form across conventional demarcation lines.'

  •  'By getting the mechanics of data interoperability right, connections will form across conventional demarcation lines.'
  •  'We will see players merge and acquire the assets and capabilities that allow them to operate in the extended ecosystem.'