Deep Dive – By Chris Thorson, FLO Chief Marketing Officer
The EV charging game: It’s all about charging service reliability
The EV charging industry is about 15 years old, but some charging companies are still beating around the bush. Any book on business will tell you when in the early stages of an industry, you need growth at all costs. What they won’t tell you is depending upon which sacrifices you make, those costs can come back to bite you – big time. In our industry, some of our competitors bet big on rapidly scaling their network, while others took the approach of focusing on one particular segment, like fast charging. At FLO, we made our big bet on reliability and a relentless focus on customer experience and we have no regrets.
News of the day
As I read through recent headlines about the EV charging industry, it seems the general public is starting to realize that a 4 times is simply not acceptable. Unfortunately, for most non-Tesla EV drivers, this is their reality. That’s why we’re increasingly seeing the big OEMs stepping in to build out their own networks: because they know in order to sell more cars, they must take as many objections off the table as possible and right now the easiest excuse for not buying an EV is the lack of a great charging experience.
Easier said than done
So, if the obvious answer to winning the trust of customers is to double-down on reliability, then the real question is, what does it take to be reliable? The truth is, delivering a consistently reliable solution is much easier said than done. At FLO, we know EV charging reliability isn’t about making great hardware that meets all the right specs, or having more dots on the map, or even relentlessly watching call center metrics. It’s about having a culture of reliability, one where it’s at the center of every conversation both internally and externally each and every day, 24/7. It’s about making decisions so that reliability always wins over cost, effort and time-to-market. It’s about vertically optimizing the business so that hardware, software, services and network all complement and learn from one another. It’s about using data to fix problems before they happen, not after. It’s about tracking whether a customer has a great experience, all the way from finding a charger to operating a charger to getting a bill. It’s not just about whether a station is “online” or not.
Read more about reliability calculation.
98%+ Uptime – How we do it at FLO
At FLO, every one of our chargers is designed, tested, and assembled by us. The software and firmware that runs them is by us. Most of the time, if we have to fix a charger in the field, it’s one of our own technicians, trained by us. Why does that matter? Because unlike other companies, whose support technicians have to chase down hardware manufacturers, software providers and network service providers to figure out who’s at fault and find the issue, we own the outcome from end-to-end – it’s our promise to EV drivers and site hosts. It’s our mission to ensure these outcomes are positive, because when all these groups talk to one another, great things happen. It’s not always glamorous, but it’s what excites us. We’ve been doing all this for over 14 years – and it shows.
Delivering a great user experience
While reliability is the foundation of a great user experience (UX), it’s just one of many pieces that come together to deliver a winning experience. At FLO, we’re moving up the UX ladder by offering more accessible, more convenient and easier-to-use features for all EV drivers. Thoughtful features, like gravity assisted cable management, dynamic touchscreens and overhead safety lights, make using a FLO charger consistent and reliable every time.
EV Charging Done Right
I’m proud to say that at FLO we are leading the way in EV charging reliability and uptime with a 98%+ reliability rating across our entire network. We look at the complete customer experience, from the design and engineering of our chargers to the customer experience “at the pump,” as well as the on-going support we give to EV drivers and our station owners. And for those asking whether we are willing to put our money where our mouth is, we even have our unique FLO Performance offer that guarantees charger uptime to site hosts or they get refund 50% of their annual service fee. Now that’s EV charging done right.
The future is bright
Our industry has work to do, and we don’t think it’s worth sugar coating, but at FLO, we believe the future is bright. More chargers are going into the ground each day, and we’ve proven that charger reliability is absolutely critical and achievable.