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For EV drivers, perhaps the greatest headache is locating charging stations that are available and easily accessible. Now, HERE and Virta, an electric vehicle charging technology company, have teamed to offer drivers information on hundreds of public charging stations across several European countries.
We spoke with Jussi Palola, CEO of Virta, who told us more about the company and its place in the EV ecosystem:
“Virta is a technology company built to offer easy charging services for EV drivers. This is a joint effort to drive innovation in the EV industry, and we make the charging process easier for people and companies everywhere, starting in Europe.”
Jussi tells us more about the challenges facing the EV industry:
“In order to make charging more accessible to drivers and automotive companies, we need companies like HERE. The current market is very fragmented on a service level. There are several types of charging services which do not communicate and several types of networks, each with different processes. What has not been available is a reliable global service which combines all charging services with real-time information.”
This, however, is set to change. Currently, the EV Charging API from HERE Automotive Services offers coverage in 39 countries, providing up-to-date, dynamic information on 47,000 charging stations in total, and this figure continues to grow, thanks to collaboration with companies like Virta. Jussi adds:
“We want to give drivers easily accessible, relevant information on charging stations, and HERE can combine this information with the relevant features and services to provide drivers with an improved experience.”
Virta technology is managing around 500 public charging stations services in France, Switzerland, Finland and Sweden, and also manages a private networks in Germany. However, location is just one small aspect of the information now available to drivers. Jussi explains:
“The basic information of the charger stations, like location, will be made available, as well as more dynamic information. For example – is it occupied? Is there a fault with the charging point? What’s the surrounding area – is there space for the user’s vehicle?
“Most drivers approach a charger without any of this information, and providing this is the very essence of improving this experience.”
The HERE EV Charging service meets these expectations and delivers rich and dynamic information on connector availability, connector type, pricing and other information that may be useful for the driver. The HERE Location Cloud then aggregates this content and delivers the information to connected vehicles, allowing drivers to make more informed decisions on the road.
When asked about future plans for Virta, Jussi outlined the company’s ambition of developing software for wearable technologies, so that this information can be accessed by people on the move.
He also highlighted the importance of the future of intelligent charging. This is charging that can be shifted based on grid loads and in accordance to the vehicle owner’s needs, resulting in energy and cost savings.
Jussi says, “When there is a large number of electric vehicles, there can be wider economic benefits for adjusting the charging process according to the status of the energy market. The next step is to allow the user to see the economic benefits of smart EV charging.”
“When you are talking about tens of thousands of EVs, you are talking about the equivalent of a power plant. By embracing intelligent charging, the industry can introduce new benefits to drivers and economies around the world.”
As for the collaboration with HERE, Jussi adds:
“We want to help solve everyday problems for drivers, who have been frustrated by the fragmented services thus far. This type of collaboration is an excellent way to take EV services to the next level.”
Do you have an electric vehicle? Let us know if you’d find these services helpful.