With transportation accounting for the greatest percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, and electrification of the sector as a common solution to achieving state and utility decarbonization goals, the importance of electric vehicle adoption is well understood by utilities.
However, the decision on electric vehicle charging method is one that significantly affects satisfaction, and the utility has an opportunity to educate and offer solutions to residential EV owners, enhancing the customer experience and deepening customer engagement.
According to the inaugural JD Power Electric Vehicle Experience Home Charging Study, 88 percent of EV owners charge their vehicles at home “often” or “always,” and those EV owners who had a Level 2 charging station had the highest level of satisfaction.
The process of purchasing and installing Level 2 chargers can be disjointed and frustrating. Most vehicle and charging manufacturers don’t provide much guidance to customers, leaving them to navigate the differences between types and makes of chargers; search for a reliable, trustworthy contractor to install it; and educate themselves about utility rebate and incentive programs.
As a trusted advisor, utility companies have an opportunity not only to encourage adoption, but to educate customers; increase their satisfaction and participation in relevant programs; offer targeted solutions and obtain useful data – all with a resource many utilities already have in place, a marketplace. Aggregating information on EVs in one place, from testimonials, reviews and ratings, to pricing, tax credits, rebates and calculators, can help utilities step beyond the standard energy-related e-commerce offers. Alongside the usual items, utilities can consider offering EV supply equipment (EVSE); and value-added services, such as Level 2 charger installation and maintenance plans.
A survey conducted by HomeServe found that consumers would look to their utility for assistance with EV charging, with nearly one-third of respondents saying they would most likely turn to their utility provider if they had an issue with their charger. Integrating information to related web pages enables the utility to provide needed support to customers and improve the EV experience.
Charger malfunction was found to be a significant concern by the JD Power study, which cited the need for repairs as the most frequent problem (29 percent). This tracks with the HomeServe survey, which found that 74 percent of potential EV owners and 59 percent of current EV owners worry about a charger breakdown.
Both surveys also noted the importance of awareness of and participation in utility EV programs. JD Power found that the more programs a customer utilized, the greater their satisfaction, but many were unaware of these programs. HomeServe’s survey showed that just under 50 percent were unaware of EV-related utility programs, but when aware, 84 percent claim rebates and 88 percent adopt EV time-of-use rates. Additionally, 97 percent of current EV owners expressed interest in a turnkey solution from their utility for installing Level 2 chargers, repairs and EV program information.
With EVs projected to be 20 percent of vehicle sales (3.5 million annually) by 2030, utility call centers will likely see an increased number of calls requesting EV-related assistance. Those with a comprehensive program in place for customers will demonstrate a commitment to furthering the adoption of EVs and delivering a positive customer experience, and when related calls come in, they can be resolved more quickly.
Utilities can help drive a positive customer experience by providing a frictionless EV charging journey from purchase decision to use. Utilizing their online marketplace or a microsite, utilities can offer a turnkey solution enabling customers to purchase a charger, schedule the installation and have the utility dispatch an electrician to install the unit who can provide information on EV incentives and time-of-use rates.
HomeServe is among the first in the industry to offer an EV charger installation and repair plan that not only provides a pre-vetted, nationwide network of licensed and insured electricians, but fills gaps in manufacturer’s warranties, covering normal wear and tear and offering protection for out-of-warranty devices.
HomeServe can also launch a co-branded mobile experience enabling customers to learn about the advantages of installing a Level 2 charger and estimate the cost of installation, schedule their appointment, see when the technician is on his way and review their experience afterwards.
To find out more about how you can offer this seamless turnkey solution, contact us.