Charging Reimagined: Opportunities Arising from New EV Charging Displays

Ibex Publishing recently spoke with Henrik Hansen, Business Development Manager at Samsung, where we discussed how the innovation of display and demonstration solutions in the electric vehicle (EV) market can enhance user experience, whilst also supporting the surge in momentum currently gathering in the transition towards electric mobility. This momentum has gathered pace in recent years, as the global EV market has expanded exponentially and is “continuing to do so”, says Hansen, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and prominent supply chain disruptions. Indeed, according to the International Energy Association (IEA), sales of EVs hit an all-time high of 16.5 million in 2021, dwarfing sales figures from the decade prior.  

Together, Europe and China are responsible for much of this growth, accounting for 85% of total 2021 sales. The European market has exhibited particularly strong expansion, with sales increasing by two-thirds year-on-year to 2.3 million units in 2021. As calls to take decisive climate action have become increasingly urgent, and omnipresent, ambitious policy announcements have further spurred on the electric transition in major markets. For example, a centralised EU directive has resulted in an effective ban on the sale of new combustion engine cars from 2035. Subsequently, traditional auto manufacturers have scrambled to develop electric alternatives; last year Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi partnered to announce £19 billion towards the introduction of 35 new EV models by 2035, whilst Volvo, in an effort to ramp up EV production, recently announced plans to open its first new factory in Europe in 60 years. 

Despite the unprecedented pace of EV adoption, Hansen believes that the effective roll-out of compatible charging infrastructure remains a “critical challenge” for society and the EV market. The growth in public charging infrastructure has been eclipsed by that of intra-EU EV sales in recent years. Indeed, the IEA predicts that 40 million public charging points will be required by 2030, requiring investment far superior to current plans and The Economist, for one, predicts that this sum stands at $1.6 trillion cumulatively. 

One of the major challenges currently impeding public charging provision is the considerable cost providers face in implementing such schemes. “The investments needed in charging infrastructure are significant” says Hansen, with firms often parting with as much as $100,000 per fast charger. Consequently, as long as returns remain elusive, both the number of installations, and the willingness of customers to use them will be restricted. However, according to Hansen, integrated digital displays capable of projecting advertisements within public charging infrastructure may positively impact the business case for investments in public EV charging.  

The EV charging infrastructure is a critical challenge on society’s journey to mass EV adoption. The investments needed in charging infrastructure are significant, and with the right usage of digital displays, Samsung can aid [in] creating that additional revenue stream via advertising, which would improve the ROI.” – Henrik Hansen, Business Development Manager at Samsung.  

Despite the contemporary challenges facing public charging provision, public authorities are pressing forward with ambitious plans to electrify mobility in public spaces. Indeed, public bodies “in certain countries and regions” are increasingly adopting “local regulations stating that 5% of all public parking space, such as that in shopping malls, must be equipped with EV chargers”. As such, the number of EV chargers at high footfall locations is expected to increase, with “EV drivers planning their destination based in part on where they can charge their car”, a trend that Hansen predicts will continue to grow and subsequently open the charging market to further potential providers. According to Hansen, retailers, for instance, “can use this to their advantage and as a point of sale. The displays can promote in store deals, building loyalty between brands and customers”.  

There is indeed an appetite for charging points with integrated display solutions among businesses, with Hansen noting that he and his team have received “requests from many customers within several verticals, such as digital-out-of-home advertising, energy companies, service stations, and supermarket retailers”. “Various surveys” have also highlighted that EV drivers expect charging to be “frictionless with a good customer experience”. Digital displays are clearly an effective way of achieving this, argues Hansen, with display screens “used not only to show costs, but also how-to-guides for connecting the EV and starting the charging session”.  

Samsung’s display network, which can be integrated into both AC and DC chargers, also represents an asset when it comes to advertising. By deploying a digital display at an EV charger, Hanssen states that “you can interact with customers on arrival, and for example, show an onscreen QR code to provide a free charging session if they spend a certain amount in store”. This constitutes one way in which the retailer can provide accessible and secure EV charging, whilst also boosting brand loyalty. 

Hansen specifically recognises the value to the hotel and hospitality sector of embracing digital charging solutions. Displays, which welcome guests on arrival, “can be a place to provide certain offers for loyalty members to earn points through charging, whilst the screens can also be used to advertise for the membership programme in order to enrol new members”. 

Samsung, among others, is offering a range of full outdoor capable displays, at various sizes. Larger variations naturally lend themselves to higher density locations, such as train stations, where widespread communication is the objective. Alternatively, smaller format displays represent a viable option for the deployment of a “more targeted” advertising approach, says Hansen. For example, the direct exchange of information between the vehicle and charging unit on connection allows for an advertising approach tailored to particular EV models and drivers, affording retailers access to specific target audiences.

Whilst the outstanding sum of public chargers required to sustain momentum in the adoption of EV’s is vast, integrated display solutions can provide the impetus required to power the charging industry in a different direction. Not only does enhancing customer experience further encourage the uptake of EVs, adoption of display solutions also opens the charging industry up to a wider group of potential providers. This is particularly crucial considering the inflection point the industry currently finds itself, with inadequate charging networks threatening to stall the surging transition to EVs.