Study 3

Innovative ICT solutions


Given the interconnected character of the sector and its services, ICT solutions for electric transport are by no means to be treated as an isolated topic. However, due to its importance, ICT for EV has been given special attention in a dedicated study within the fast-E studies.

The further conceptualization and realization of an integrated EV market largely depends on the development of intelligent ICT solutions. The most important ICT-related theme that requires further development towards maturation is interoperability. Full interoperability within the fast-E network will ensure that the customers of every MSP involved in the project can charge at any fast-E charger, regardless of the CPO that is operating the charger.

ICT will also play an important role for the developments of intermodal services. Intermodal solutions will be developed and interconnected in such a way that they enable an end-to-end service for users that want to travel electric. In addition, integration of a car sharing initiative will serve as a test-bed for a potential larger roll-out.

This study will also elaborate on open software solutions that connect MSPs, CPOs, and other stakeholders in the field of electric transport.

Objective as stated in Grant Agreement:

Conceptualizing intelligent ICT solutions for interoperability and intermodality as major building blocks of an integrated EV market and exploring options to build on add-on driver and passenger services enabling end-to-end travelling across transportation modes.

The central question for study 3 that is guiding the work done in sub-studies 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 is:

How can further development of innovative ICT concepts promote efficient interoperability and intermodality solutions within and beyond the fast-E network?

This question will be addressed in sub-study 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3

Sub-study 3.1: ICT for Interoperability

With a multitude of CPOs and MSPs operating in the international market, solutions for interoperability are indispensable for an efficient charging infrastructure. These solutions are necessary for the connection of local island networks and for an efficient infrastructure on specific corridors in which multiple CPOs are operating. To date, there is no unified standard or platform for interoperability, neither on a national level nor on a European level. This makes it challenging to enable every MSP-consumer access to any charger.

Within the fast-E project, interoperability has to be realized between every CPO and MSP involved. To meet these requirements, specific developments are needed on the IT systems of the CPO and MSPs, such as on their backend systems, connection to roaming platforms, bilateral connections, and affected business and administrative processes. The resulting system will enable the exchange of information for identification, authorization, POI-data, charge data, legal and contractual information, and billing. The chosen solutions are to be evaluated and realized.

Sub-study 3.2: ICT for Intermodality

Innovative intermodality ICT solutions that connect different mobility systems (public transport, railway, car-sharing, commercial fleets and private electrical vehicles etc.) are a vital part of new mobility concepts. The integration of e-mobility into intermodality concepts requires modification of the IT-systems involved, such as bookings, identification, integrated service packages, and access to charging infrastructure. Furthermore, a number of user interfaces or platforms may be used, such as online portals or smart phone applications. These ICT requirements need specification, further development and testing in real-life conditions. That way, a robust system and a seamless user experience can be realized.

Study 3.2 will investigate how one single identification method (e.g. BahnCard) can be used by customers for traveling by bus, tram, train, and electric car-sharing. Another key issue is to allow these users access to the charging infrastructure to support longer-range electric driving. Additionally, it will be investigated how customers can book and pay for their intermodal travels (including public transport, train, electric car-sharing, and charging) through one system. Experiences in real-life circumstances will be collected through a study in which the electric car-sharing initiative eFlinkster is integrated in the broader rail transport system of DB.

Sub-study 3.3: Open Source Software Implementation Preparation

Currently, a number of players in the e-mobility sector are separately developing custom-made proprietary software systems with comparable functionalities. Developing these ICT-systems separately is costly and time consuming, and results in a market redundancy of the same basic functionalities.

An alternative to this situation is a joint market effort towards the development of open source software for charging services. An example of such an approach is the open source software initiative Motown, which has been developed in recent years. Using Motown, the concept of open source ICT solutions will be tested for its ability to easily connect MSPs to CPOs, and to enable new services in collaboration with other important EV-related stakeholders.

Sub-study 3.3 aims to test the technical feasibility of the open source software approach. In addition, the viability of open source software will be assessed in a market in which various parties attach their USP to the proprietary software systems that they developed. A version of Motown will be tested and implemented in a semi-controlled environment. Functional feedback will be collected to evaluate the functionalities (e.g. charge spot management, network integration, communication protocols, grid capacity management and advanced driver services).