How to choose your Workplace EV Charge Point Operator (CPO)
Choosing a Charge Point Operator (CPO) is vital to having the best EV charging experience. It will ensure your charge points are maintained and readily available for drivers.
So, we’ve put together all the essential questions on how to choose your EV Charge Point Operator.
You can download all the questions, and Stark Charge’s answers, in our handy template for free.
Use it easily compare different workplace EV charging providers, without missing any key points:
Choose a CPO who is also the installer
An EV charge point installer will handle the initial installation.
But if they’re not a CPO they won’t be able to provide the ongoing management or customer service support businesses need.
Sometimes an installer will partner with a CPO – so make sure you know who will be doing these key roles for you.
- Is the EV charger installer also a CPO? If not, who is the CPO?
- What support is available pre- and post-installation?
Choose a CPO with a solid service
When choosing a Charge Point Operator, it’s important to understand what they do for you.
- user authentication
- billing and payments
- monitor the infrastructure
- handle issues or maintenance requirements
Without a CPO, business owners would end up responsible for all administration and maintenance relating to their workplace charging points.
Businesses need to be satisfied with the maintenance and driver support options a CPO will provide.
- What platform does the CPO use?
- Are you allowed access as a customer?
- What access-level/tasks can you perform on it?
Choose a CPO with Platform Support
Not all CPOs provide a fully managed service, however, and you may be stuck with poor aftercare once the EV chargers are installed.
The CPO platform is software that sits behind the installed chargers.
Its primary function is to provide the CPO with data related to the EV chargers for maintenance, flagging issues and doing remote fixes.
It is also there to process payments and capture charging session information.
We provide a fully managed service so you don’t need to worry about having another platform to handle.
Unlike some other CPOs, we can update access, tariffs and other charger settings whenever you like.
- What support does the CPO provide in setting up and managing charge points in their platform?
Choose a CPO who is flexible on setting tariffs
CPOs provide all the billing and payment systems for your EV chargers.
This can get quite complex and time-consuming, requiring systems and processes to accurately track and bill for charging sessions.
CPOs make this easy, and simple by handling the processes with the flexibility to access and update tariffs as you need, but not all CPOs offer this service.
Make sure you can change the price of your EV chargers if you wish to provide free charging for employees or VIPs, or want to be able to control it for revenue options.
- Can I set my own tariffs?
- Can I earn revenue from the charge points?
- How is this revenue paid?
Choose a CPO who supports you in managing your chargers
A CPO manages user access meaning they have systems to authenticate and track users to ensure that only authorised individuals have access to the charging points.
For workplace charging you need to restrict chargers to employees and fleet drivers only.
For businesses with mixed-use chargers (public and employees), you may want different prices for different drivers.
How are you planning to manage this? What will your CPO be doing to help?
- Can I restrict who has access to charge points at different days/times?
- What support does the CPO provide in managing this
Choose a CPO who is compliant
Operating EV charging infrastructure involves compliance with various regulations and standards.
Your CPO needs to ensure they are familiar with and adhere to all relevant requirements, such as:
- data privacy regulations
- energy reporting obligations
- open protocol / hardware interoperable standards
- How do you comply with data protection?
- Can I change CPO and keep the same charge point hardware?
Choose a CPO who puts you first
The choice of CPO impacts the overall user experience for EV charging.
A good CPO needs to provide a seamless, user-friendly experience, minimising potential frustrations.
This may include supporting materials to train whoever is responsible for managing the new EV infrastructure or for your employees who need to be made aware of the new facilities.
- How does your CPO service provide a user-friendly service for drivers?
- What is the process for supporting employees in using new EV chargers?
Choose a CPO who protects your energy data
EV chargers create new electricity consumption which needs to be managed just like your existing utility meters for your buildings.
Without granular data that can be separated from their buildings, business owners may miss out on energy cost savings when they install EV chargers.
Your CPO needs to be able to provide the granular data in a useful format for your business needs to continue energy management programmes.
- Do you provide the driver EV sessions in Half Hourly data?
- How can I link the EV data into existing energy management platforms?
Choose a CPO who considers the future
Businesses may struggle to accommodate the increased demand for workplace EV charging.
Which makes it harder to scale up charging infrastructure or take advantage of emerging technologies.
Your CPO should have expertise in planning for future EV charging needs and ensuring scalability.
- What checks do you make as CPO to ensure my site has sufficient capacity for current EV demand and future demand?
Choose a CPO who prioritises your flexibility and choice
It’s common for businesses to have multiple CPOs if there’s been no consistent EV rollout strategy.
It can be time-consuming managing this with:
- multiple CPO platforms
- performance issues & maintenance levels
- different standards of data
The way around this is to ensure that any CPO you use is going to install hardware which is ‘open protocol’.
This means that you can choose to switch to another provider without having to replace the hardware you’ve installed.
Your CPO should have open protocol chargers so you can switch providers.
- Can you take on existing chargers I have at my sites?
- What maintenance do you provide for any 3rd party existing chargers?
- How can you get all my 3rd party existing chargers into a single CPO platform?
Choose a CPO who can be used with Grants
The UK government offers grants and monetary support to businesses, landlords and individuals to help increase the deployment of EV charging infrastructure.
CPOs and EV installers may or may not be registered with the Office of Zero Emissions (OZEV).
Registration allows businesses to make claims against the cost of workplace chargers.
A CPO should be up to date with these and be able to advise you so you can benefit from relevant grants available at the time of your installation.
- Are you OZEV registered?
- How can you support me with workplace charging grants?
Discover Charge Point Operator offers
Future-proof your business by choosing a Charge Point Operator who is supportive, and innovative and gives you the energy data and support you really need in a way that makes sense for your workplace charging ambitions.
A CPO who offers more than just installation and maintenance will prove invaluable down the line.
It will ultimately help to reduce the total cost of ownership, saving you time and money and give you real value for your investment.