Have you ever driven an electric vehicle (EV)? If not, you should definitely try it – it’s great fun and I am sure that once you have driven one, you won’t want to drive a combustion engine car again.

WHY?

I was first struck by how quiet an electric car is, almost silent, an incredible acceleration, as if you are weightless floating above the road. After a while, these aesthetic impressions were replaced by more mundane business thoughts, such as, it’s cheap to charge and most of all, it’s sustainable. However, the feel good factor is somewhat overshadowed by the fact that not many EVs are available, significant investment is still required and public infrastructure is missing.

BUT…

…Batteries are becoming cheaper and therefore prices for electric vehicles are also becoming more affordable. Moreover, market trends mean prices will drop even further once production increases.

Once a wide range of affordable cars become available, market adoption will grow and the charging infrastructure will be extended.

Start-Ups with clever ideas are appearing on the market that combine this kind of clean mobility with other value-added services that will create an even more attractive driving experience.

“Urban” transportation is expected to be electric, autonomous, and on-demand. Therefore “wireless connectivity, is a key building block technology […] to mobility as a service. By 2025, many vehicles will be connected with other objects in the Internet of Things, and “will provide real-time safety alerts and traffic notifications to drivers” at a baseline (source: Forbes Magazine, June 13th, 2016: “The Future Is Now: Smart Cars And IoT In Cities”).

Established industries such as the Automakers will bring more cars to the market and the charging infrastructure will be extended by the utility companies.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

One thing is clear, if you want to be in the game as an enterprise, you have to be ahead of it, before others capture this promising market that is currently picking up again.

First you need to know what services you could offer. If you are a utility, you have already plenty of options that cover your core business. An obvious idea is to plan, install, and operate a public or private charging infrastructure. Utilities also need “to cope with the demands of many consumers plugging their cars into the grid” and therefore they will “need to manage demand with smart grid systems that allow EVs to draw power in ways that will not disrupt the service to homes and businesses” (source: SCN SAP.com).

A more advanced business model would be to use EVs as mobile energy storage to balance a surplus from renewable energy production and offer this service to the transport system operator.

You could also offer mobility services containing EVs to municipalities or directly to end consumers. Or you could manage the electric fleets of other companies, especially those that have committed to lowering their climate targets. And one way of doing this is to introduce or increase the number of EVs within the company fleet.

WHAT NEXT?

To make this a reality, you need a strong partner that can provide you with the platform you need to run your future business models. SAP is a strong partner here, since we have already gained significant experience years ago in various research projects in which we were involved. We also have solutions in place that can already support many of the potential business models. An example would be the charging and billing of EV services including registration, authentication, and authorization of the EV driver at the charging point.

Last but not least, we are a company who set challenging sustainability goals, which we can only achieve by increasing our own EV fleet.

We use our own fleet management solution that runs on the HANA Cloud platform (HCP) to operate both our EV fleet and charging infrastructure and for driver Management.

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