3 Steps to Prepare for the Future of E-mobility
Technology, consumer interest, and governmental incentives are converging to quicken the transition to e-mobility. Preparing for the arrival of electric vehicles isn’t just about retrofitting existing spaces for EV charging stations. As EV usage evolves and increases over time, e-mobility requires an ecosystem of services and systems to deliver the experience that customers expect.. Parking operators who want to take full advantage of the opportunities e-mobility provides will have to take a new approach to technology—one that integrates systems, hardware, and operations and gives facility managers greater control, access, and insight.
To set the foundation for a scalable, functional, and profitable e-mobility ecosystem, consider these three steps.
1. Consolidate data, gain actionable insights
Currently, most parking technologies are purchased individually. Revenue control, license plate recognition (LPR), parking guidance, online booking, EV charging, and valet systems are acquired separately and integrated on the back end, typically through application programming interfaces (APIs). As a result, parking managers are left with a disjointed network of technologies and limited access to their own data.
This is often the reason parking operators struggle to leverage data to their benefit. It’s hard to be confident that you’re making the right decisions and properly monetizing stalls when your data is siloed in disparate systems. Breaking these data silos requires that you own and manage your own data. This doesn’t mean that you must discard the subsystems that you rely on to manage vital functions in your facility. Instead, look for a parking technology solution that allows you to unify disjointed hardware and software systems.
Imagine creating a unique profile of your parking facility where all the data points from the various systems you use are centralized. With a hardware-agnostic system you can consolidate data such as occupancy rates, revenue, and EV charging usage into a single source of actionable insights. This single source of truth is known as a data lake, and it grows over time. When you own and manage your own data lake, it allows you to produce more effective reports and enable dashboards that can be used for planning, forecasting, and reporting to stakeholders.
2. Prepare for scalability
To truly maximize the value of EV charging, it’s important to consider broader implications, both in terms of infrastructure and services needed to create an exceptional customer experience. The first step is to understand the energy demands of EV charging stations you have or plan to implement today, as well as those you plan to implement in the future. Retrofitting an existing space for EV charging can be an extensive, disruptive process. With the proper planning, you should ideally only have to do it once in an existing facility. Factors to consider when building a scalable EV charging solution include:
• Your current electrical service capacity and demand
• Estimated charging station usage, particularly during peak times, which can be refined over time through ongoing monitoring
• Potential future plans for grid-interactivity (where onsite renewables and the public energy grid are used interchangeably)
Beyond the energy demands of charging stations, the next step is to begin thinking of parking structures as the gas stations of the future. Considering that the fastest chargers available today can require up to an hour to fully charge, customers may require accommodations that will help them make the most of their time at the facility. This can mean offering public Wi-Fi, arranging spaces differently, or even installing outdoor seating and waiting areas.
This may also include adding additional subsystems. As you add features and services, they should become a part of your integrated technology platform, so you can manage operations from a single tool and deliver a more seamless experience for customers, even as your services evolve.
3. Think outside the box to maximize value
E-mobility has the potential to bring about a paradigm shift in the way customers interact with your facility. This shift can open new opportunities to deliver more value to your customers and generate revenue. The parking garage or lot may become more than just a space for dropping off a car or sitting inside while waiting for it to charge.
Will valets turn over cars at charging stations while customers shop, dine, or travel? Will charging stations expand your customer base? For example, charging stations at airports could be made available to customers who aren’t planning to use the airport itself, but just need to recharge. As far-fetched as some of these ideas may seem now, it’s hard to predict how e-mobility will change our habits in the next five, ten, or twenty years.
By centralizing your parking subsystems under a single technology umbrella, you can make data-driven decisions about which new tactics to pursue and then monitor their performance. You can also optimize revenue control, digital signage, guidance, and online booking systems to help integrate these new services into your offering and ensure a smooth experience for your customers.
E-mobility success starts with your technology ecosystem
Underlying all of these considerations is an integrated approach to technology. With single-solution technologies, parking operators are limited in how much control they have over their own data and processes. No two facilities today are alike, and with the transition to e-mobility on the horizon, it’s unlikely that they will be in the future. Each operator will need the flexibility to adapt and to make informed decisions around evolving customer needs.
For forward-thinking operators, that means you need an integrated platform that allows you to leverage the capabilities of single-solution technologies while centralizing data management and operational control. Implementing an integrated platform requires both technological know-how and operational expertise. The technological infrastructure and the operational strategy go hand-in-hand. As you prepare your facility for the future of e-mobility, look for solutions and partners that understand the value of a holistic ecosystem that delivers value for your customers and gives you the control and flexibility you need.
Brett Winslow Director of Operations for the Landside West Region at ABM
Brett Winslow is a Director of Operations for the Landside West region at ABM, managing ABM’s parking business for our largest Airports. He has extensive experience with parking operations, technology, and project management. Previously, Brett worked for Hub Parking Technology, covering all West Coast Area Operations. He resides in Los Angeles, Calif.