Chargepoint apps improve EV recharging in Germany

Smart, Mercedes and Renault sign up to the Bosch app and cloud service for informing clients of nearest available public charge points throughout the country.

By offering the ability to quickly find charging stations and pay for their use with one click, innovative charging apps are making electromobility even more practical for everyday use throughout Germany. The key to all of this is the smartphone: charging apps on the phone allow drivers of electric cars to quickly find available charging stations in their area and then use them simply and conveniently. Working together with various automotive manufacturers, Bosch Software Innovations offers charging apps along with the backend infrastructure. The charging apps are currently available at no cost from smart and Mercedes-Benz, with Renault soon to follow. Around 3,700 public charging points in Germany are already accessible through the apps. The charging apps form a part of Bosch’s global connectivity strategy. Soon, electric cars and their charging infrastructure will also be a part of the internet of things (IoT): “The connected electric car is the best electric car,” says Dr Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management at Robert Bosch.

A key advantage of the charging apps lies in their broad scope. Approximately 3,700 of the web-enabled, public charging points in Germany have already been made accessible through the app network, and additional European countries will later follow. In addition to the technical implementation, which features services such as the intercharge eRoaming platform, Bosch Software Innovations has also signed contracts in advance with a host of charge point operators. This means that app users can conveniently use the displayed charging stations without the need for cash, and without having to resolve complex technical and contractual issues themselves before doing so. Instead, all they need is a PayPal account and to have completed a one-time registration. Even the payment process is completed from within the app in a convenient and secure fashion.

Automotive manufacturers smart, Mercedes-Benz and Renault are using the charging apps in an effort to win over more electric car customers. This is because, aside from attractive vehicle offerings, a straightforward recharging procedure plays a critical role in the continued advancement of electromobility in Germany. The operators of the charging stations profit here as well, as the apps help them to increase utilisation of their charging points.

Connected charging stations represent an ideal IoT application

The charging apps are an ideal example of an Internet of Things application in which intelligent objects – in this case charging stations – are connected together. With its technology, Bosch Software Innovations is laying the foundation for bringing together various players such as automotive manufacturers, charge point operators, energy providers, retailers and electric car drivers on a single software platform. But what customers do not see is the powerful network of systems behind the app that are connected with one another in real time. The cloud-enabled Bosch IoT Suite software package for the development of IoT applications forms the technological basis for the charging apps. It incorporates a broad range of regional electricity and charge point providers, in addition to the intercharge eRoaming platform and the partnered services that ensure convenient payment functionality.

“With the charging apps, we are bringing the Internet of Things and electromobility together. To us this is the perfect combination, since we have been actively promoting new developments in both of these areas for several years now,” says Kai Weber, product manager at Bosch Software Innovations. Aside from its numerous e-mobility projects and its participation in the EMI³ standardising body, Bosch’s involvement also includes its roles as a consortium partner, IOT systems partner and platform vendor for eRoaming provider Hubject in Berlin. This joint venture regularly brings together leading players in the e-mobility marketplace

The charge point operators are connected to the network via the intercharge eRoaming platform. An additional 700 charging points from Belectric Drive, EmiS, and E-Wald GmbH have recently been made accessible for use through the charging apps as a result. The charging apps are available both for iOS and Android operating systems.

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