ELMO is Estonia’s electromobility programme. It promotes the use of electric cars and emission-free personal transportation in order to create a better city environment, independence from fossil fuels and increased energy efficiency. One of ELMO’s goals was to cover Estonia with electric vehicle (EV) quick chargers to help increase the operational range of these vehicles. This project was financed by the government of Estonia selling some of its CO2 quota to the Mitsubishi Corporation.
|Time frame:||2012 - on-going|
|Partners:||NOW! Innovations, G4S, ABB, Kredex|
|Products:||EV charging Countrywide quick
charging network 165 quick chargers
The ELMO charging infrastructure project was launched in March 2011. It aimed to establish a countrywide network of quick chargers (QC) and set up a single operator with responsibility for all the charging stations. Importantly, consumers had to be able to take advantage of the same payment solution and technical support across the country.
Responsibilities for the project were divided between four organisations:
- KredEx, the Estonian national financing institution that owned the ELMO programme, chose the QC locations and commissioned sites to be prepared.
- Leading technology company ABB supplied the hardware.
- NOW! Innovations was awarded the contract to provide billing and payment software.
- G4S provided customer support and network operations.
This consortium was committed to supporting the network for 5 years. Planning the charging network took about a year before the first stages of building were started.
NOW! Innovations started work on the project in February 2012. The installation of quick chargers followed in the summer of that year.
As billing and payment provider, NOW! Innovations had the following responsibilities:
NOW! Innovations needed to map the network and categorise the QC assets by regions, cities, districts, streets and individual sites. It was also necessary to provide a solution for managing single- or multiconnector chargers and to update customers with the status of these chargers.
Customer relationship management
In order to provide detailed analysis and customerrelated processes, NOW! Innovations set up customer profiles that enabled a wide range of business rules. As part of this procedure, hierarchical accounts with multiple authorisation tools were introduced.
Business logic development
Business rules based on customer profiles, locations, timeslots, etc. were set up by NOW! Innovations, along with flexible tariffs based on time, energy, charging sessions and ﬂat fees. The NOW! Platform allows users to choose between prepaid, postpaid or pay-as-you-go accounts. As well as supporting credit and debit card payments the NOW! Platform can also handle mobile invoicing, direct bank transfers and a number of other channels. In case of ELMO, post-paid solution was chosen.
Service design and development
NOW! Innovations was required to provide multiple service interfaces: mobile phone, web portal and RFID cards. It also needed to gather business intelligence using more than a dozen reporting tools and connect the charging network with other services using open standard protocols (e.g. navigational systems can obtain information about QCs through the KML file format).
The network with 165 CHAdeMO-standard quick chargers was opened officially in February 2013. It was the first of its kind in the world and is still the largest quick charging network in Europe. Each town in Estonia, as well as larger villages, has its own quick charger; the stations are installed along major roads at a maximum distance of 40 to 60 km.
“What makes the Estonian fast charging network unique is the fact that it uses a uniform payment solution and you can either use an authorisation card or your mobile phone for making payments. We believe that a nationwide grid of quick chargers encourages growth of the number of EV users, since the drivers no longer need to worry about a somewhat shorter driving range of their electric vehicles.” Jarmo Tuisk, Director, Electric Mobility Solutions at NOW! Innovations.
About NOW! Innovations
NOW! Innovations is a global SaaS provider of mobile payment and billing solutions operating on 3 continents and in 8 countries. The Company has developed a flexible and easy-‐to-‐use billing and payment platform for parking and other mobility services. NOW! Innovations is also the world pioneer for mobile payment solutions for Electric Vehicle charging that launched as part of the consortium lead by ABB the first country-wide EV fast charging network in Estonia last year.
NOW! Innovations SaaS platform: NOW! Platform, based on SaaS concept, enables cities and parking and EV-‐charging operators to not only add mobile phone payments to their existing system either independently or as an integrated approach but also to implement Intelligent Parking System (IPS). IPS enables parking and EV charging asset management and allows increasing revenues and efficiency, decreasing costs and becoming eco-‐friendly. NOW! Platform offers the widest selection of command channels: SMS, QR codes, IVR, NFC, RFID, LPR/ANPR. The functionality includes a dynamic billing mechanisms and multiple payment sources: credit/debit cards, pre-‐paid cards, customer accounts, direct debit order, PayPal, etc. NOW! Platform manages unlimited number of payment rate policies, assets, and customer classes. The Platform has the most functionality and the lowest cost on the market.