GIREVE is the first roaming platform in Europe, operating in more than 10 countries, with a network of 180 operators and more than 80 000 charging points across the continent. Its CEO Bruno Lebrun and its CTO Jean-Marc Rives gather to discuss the European expansion that the company started 2 years ago and explain how important a platform is to foster e-mobility rollout.
Today, GIREVE gets operators connected throughout Europe. Is payment via operators going to develop instead of credit card payment?
Bruno Lebrun: Direct payment (via credit card) can solve the access issues, but this is not the best solution. Filling a tank only lasts a few minutes and the driver needs to stay near the vehicle. Charging an EV lasts at least ten minutes and often around an hour. The driver won’t be waiting next to the car during the charging session. He will need services such as an app to follow the charging process, get notified if something goes wrong and be informed of how much it costs to stop the charge if needed.
This type of service cannot be implemented with an anonymous credit card payment that neither identifies the driver nor the car. A credit card enables payment but lacks services. This will be all the more significant as smart charging develops. The user will expect his operators to meet his charge needs and get money from electric network flexibility. Identification of the user and the vehicle will be necessary, and a credit card doesn’t enable identification.
What’s more, with Plug&Charge enabled by ISO 15118 standard, the car will automatically be identified through the charging point. In this case you won’t even need to use your credit card.
Roaming of services becomes a key topic as EV use spreads on a massive scale.
What is the role of GIREVE and how does the platform face up to those evolutions?
Bruno Lebrun: GIREVE enables intermediation between a services operator with its EV driver customers, and a charging operator with its network of charging stations: in a way, we are standing between the driver who wants to charge his car, and the charging station that can deliver power.
There are hundreds of operators in Europe. They need to exchange data and services so that one operator’s customer can charge on another operator’s charging point. GIREVE manages the contractual, operational and technical complexity of those exchanges.
With the development of e-mobility, operators extend their activities throughout Europe. Operations are getting more complex and partners more numerous. This enhances the benefits of our platform.
GIREVE is OCPI compliant. This protocol is often used for peer-to-peer connections. What would be the benefit of a platform then?
Jean-Marc Rives: A data exchange protocol won’t solve technical and contractual complexity between hundreds of operators. Operators don’t focus on the protocol but on a “make or buy” decision: can I manage connections with hundreds of partners myself and at reasonable cost or should I leave it to a platform? No matter the choice, there will still be a debate on the protocol and the services that go with it.
Platforms like GIREVE delivering services at reasonable costs can be more advantageous than peer to peer connections.
I would like to emphasize the benefit of a platform in managing technical interactions between operators. A platform like GIREVE deals with incidents and solves heterogeneity or software incompatibility issues between operators. Operators are free to choose their protocol and security policy, as the platform connects them. In a bilateral connection scenario, you need to coordinate with your partner to make the connection work. There is less freedom and independence and incidents can spread.
GIREVE also qualifies exchanges between operators and manages complex operations for them, such as filtering surnumerary messages, to facilitate exchanges and reduce operators’ costs.
A platform guarantees operators independence from the ecosystem and reduction of operations costs.
We also focus on leaving operators free to choose their partners and define the conditions of their contract. This freedom brings complexity: if hundreds of operators get connected, there are thousands of connections that need to be managed. We at GIREVE, enhance this freedom by providing operators with services designed to simplify their exchanges. That’s why we developed the marketplace Connect Place. This marketplace makes it possible to sign online in a few clicks roaming agreements that are completely bilateral.
With this tool, any operator can manage its relations with all stakeholders of the ecosystem. The Connect Place goes way beyond roaming services. New services implemented in 2019 enable charging point booking and billing between operators. Upcoming services will further explore the potential of the ConnectPlace’s services.