Park and Charge app demo

As part of the March 18 Park and Charge Oxfordshire Getting you EV Ready event we prepared a demo showing how the app we are developing will be used by local residents to book a charge point overnight. Play the video below to see this demo and to find out what we have done to date in this exciting project. 

Full video 

App demo

Please find the script below that was used for the event:

Intro

My name is Jake, I’m the EV champion at [ui!]uk. We are a data and digital services company based in Oxfordshire and we are the consortia members of Park and Charge developing the app, data, and platform services.

We got into this project because we are passionate about helping local councils to tackle air quality, traffic problems and making a difference for local people. Since our first project established that as many as 30% of local people cannot charge an EV at home, we have been working to tackle that.

It’s quite difficult to talk about how important the data and digital services are for Park and Charge. It’s not like we can show how things like data flows are managed. What we can talk about is how the Park and Charge service will make it easier for local people to make charge point bookings, how our app will work and how the app will learn what your preferences are for EV charging.

Key features

Booking an EV charge point

Most EV charge points don’t allow bookings

  • Currently EV charge point providers do not offer a reservation (holding a slot now) or a booking (in advance) service
  • This means that if you want to plan to charge your EV on a certain day or time you need to take your chances at a local charge point
  • Services like Zap Map or Google Maps can tell you if a charge point is not working according to user posted information, but they do not let you plan for charging at a future date

The more people drive EVs the less chance a charge point will be available when you need one

  • As more people drive EVs the chances of an available charge point become less and less, the user will need to belong to different Charge Point services to increase the number of places where they might charge
  • Many Charge Point services levy a monthly fee for membership and the user will need multiple RFID cards

Park and charge customers will be able to book their preferred place and slot

  • Park and Charge lets app members book a charging slot in the future at a car park of their choice
  • Nearer the time we create a reservation, which allocates a specific charge point within that car park for exclusive use of the app member
  • Only the booked app member will be able to use the charge point at the time of the reservation

Simple to use app

Most EV charge point services don’t have mobile apps

  • Currently many of the main EV charge point service providers do not include an app for members. Your charge history consists of emailed transaction confirmations only
  • Their customers cannot see their own charging history or even a summary of the transactions unless they look at their bank account
  • Their customers must log in to a website to manage their account settings and personal details

The Park and Charge app is an easy-to-use booking and membership tool

  • Park and Charge gives you an app to manage your membership, history and make bookings
  • Because we have designed the Park and Charge service as digital native, the app is easy to use and has simple features

Suggested booking times

It can be hard to know how often to charge your EV

  • Currently none of the main EV charge point service providers give their customers insights into their charging needs, patterns or preferences
  • There is no link made between the EV actual range, use and charge

The Park and Charge app will learn your real EV charging needs

  • Park and Charge will provide app members insights into your charging needs, patterns and preferences
  • The AI we are building in the app will make suggestions to you about times when it would be good to top up your EV in the future

Demo

Introduction

We are still building the app and getting feedback from the EV champions. So, this demonstration of the app is a first look.

In this demo we are going to show you some of the key functions of how you would use the app as a member. We will go through making a booking, getting your car charged at your booking and how the app will make suggestions based on your preferences.

Step 1: make a booking

It’s 10:30 in the morning and you want to book a charge point for tonight close to where you live so the car will be fully charged for your trip tomorrow.

Step 1.1: load app

There’s no need to go to the charge point with your car right now on the off chance.

Instead, just open the app on your iPhone or Android smartphone. On the home screen you click Sign In and that will take you straight through to the options page where you can click on make a booking and that’s where you can find the charging hub you want.

Step 1.2: find charging hub

This is the screen for finding a charging hub. On this map you can see two charging hubs. Just for this demo we have invented a charging hub at Garth park. The other hub will be our first location for this project at the Cattle Market car park in Bicester. The screen is showing you that three charge points at Garth park are free and the rest are in use. At the Cattle Market one is reserved, only one is free and the rest are in use. The Cattle Market is your nearest charge point so let’s make a booking there. Click on the Cattle Market charging hub button.

Step 1.3: book or use now

So, on the bottom of the screen, we see the current status and we still have the option to reserve that last charge point right now if we wanted. You’re not free right now and you still want to make a booking so click on the Book Now button.

Step 1.4: select booking time

Good news Wednesday night is available. Scrolling down the list you also notice that if you wanted to book for Sunday it would have cost you more and Saturday night is already fully booked. Let’s go ahead and make the booking for Wednesday. Just click on the green box for Wednesday.

So now let’s look at what happens on Wednesday night when your booking is due to start.

Step 2: booking fulfilment

Step 2.1: notified of allocated bay

A quarter of an hour before your booking the app will alert you that it’s time to take your car to the charging hub. In the alert you see you have been allocated bay four and you can get the app to tell you how to drive to the charging hub if you didn’t know where it was.

Step 2.2 directed to allocated bay

This is what the Take me there link will show you.

Step 3: start charge

Step 3.1: request start charge and authenticate user

You’ve arrived at bay four in good time. Get your charging cable out of the car and plug one end into the charge point and the other into your car. When the car and charge point have established a connection, your app will show you this screen. All you need to do is click start charge and your car will be charged overnight.

Step 4: end of booking

Step 4.1: notified of end of session

So, it’s the next morning and your app alerts you that the car has been charged overnight and is ready for you to take home. You’re wondering whether to walk or cycle to pick up the car, so you click on Take me there.

Step 4.2: directed to their car

The Take me there screen shows you that it is a five-minute walk or a one-minute cycle.

Step 4.3: end the charge

So here you are back at the charging hub. Open the app and you will see the end charge screen. Click on end charge and then all you need to do is unplug your cable and depart.

Step 5: suggest next booking

Step 5.1: new booking suggestion

The more you use the app the more it will understand your preferences. So, this means in the future it can suggest better booking times for you. In the example we’re showing the app has learnt that you, for example, prefer to charge on weekend nights and always at Cattle Market charging hub. Because of the number of bookings on the weekend coming up the app alerts you to this and offers alternate bookings. Click the View button to see those options.

Step 5.2: suggested booking accept/edit

Here you can see that there is a booking available for Wednesday overnight and even better it’s cheaper than your usual weekend rate. To make the booking click the accept button. If you wanted to see other options including other charging hubs you can click the Edit button.

Summary

So, let’s recap

The Park and Charge service will make it easier for local people to make a charge point booking.

The app is an easy-to-use booking and membership tool.

The app will learn your real EV charging needs.

Of course this is not the whole story of the digital and data work that we are doing but it is what we are working on right now and across the summer to get the app ready for local residents to ensure they can book an EV charge point with confidence.

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