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From Price Transparency to Market Transparency: Making the jump

How real transparency can help accelerate the energy transition

26th November, 2022

Price transparency for EV charging has been top of mind for market parties and government bodies for several years now – how can we accurately tell consumers before, during and after they have finished charging what the price of their session has been? The comparison is often made with the petrol station model, where the price per litre and the rolling price is shown directly at the pump; while this is comparing apples and oranges when set next to a low cost AC charger in an office parking lot, the concern about transparency towards consumers is a valid one.

What is not talked about nearly as much is how transparency should not end with showing the user what they pay, but also making this depend on the actual cost of the resources. By exposing the consumer to the real cost of energy, pricing signals can help stabilize energy markets in the most transparent way. It will also help drive general costs down, as price increases at the bottom of the value chain are not masked or lost in aggregation and cost-price-averaging at the end of the chain..

Price Transparency Basics

The European Union mandates EV charging price transparency in the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR). While this law is enforced (and to a certain extent implemented) differently in each member state, the basic requirement is that prices can be easily found by drivers before their session, and the final price must reflect the rates that were shown to the driver beforehand.

Since most AC charging points are low-cost devices without any display screen, transparency can either be achieved via and app or website, or a physical sign or sticker on the charger. The latter is simply not scalable in the context of today’s volatile energy markets, so the app-based approach is certainly preferred in today’s market. Service Providers such as Tap Electric connect to public charging networks to provide access to their drivers, and receive information from the infrastructure operators so that they can display price information in the app.

Tap clearly shows price information on the charger, and directly in the map view for quick direct comparisons for chargers in the area.