Paythru Demonstrates Deep Insight Into EV Fleet Management
I heard a recent episode of the CX Files podcast where they talked about one of my blogs on the show. That was interesting to hear, but the content of the main interview on the show was even better.
CX analyst and podcast host Peter Ryan was talking to Sara Sloman, the director of Future Fleet at Paythru, based in the UK. Paythru is a payment services company, but Sara has a long history of expertise in electric vehicles (EVs) and her mission is to create an easier way for EV fleet owners to manage their vehicles.
The focus of the interview was on EVs and the experience of users. My blog was referenced because I had asked why EV charging is still such a poor experience?
During the interview, Sara emphasised that EVs are going mainstream. She said: “So we’ve moved away from that early adopter phase, the sort of personality who likes new tech, who takes a risk, who is happy to do something a little different from their neighbour. Now we’re seeing the opposite of that – neighbours are doing things and other neighbours want to do the same thing. As humans, we tend to copy what’s safe and what works and what is the path of least resistance and so electric transport is just starting to be appealing.”
Peter asked how consumer demands might change from the environment where everyone uses petrol vehicles to EVs. Sara said: “I did quite consciously make 2022 the year of the consumer. And last year was the year of collaboration. And next year 2023, I’d like to be the year of confidence. And the reason I’m saying this is because we need to be looking after the consumers, we have to be giving them an opportunity to charge their car in the same way that they would have refuelled their car before.”
Obviously it’s a different experience to charge an EV compared to refuelling a car, but Sara explained how she has a vision of charging stations that can cater for the customers that find it difficult, or impossible, to charge at home. Sara also explained what she calls the ‘triple-jump’ which is that there needs to be more than one option for EV users when on the road. If you need a charge and the first charging station has a long line of people waiting you might not have time to wait – we all need alternatives, but especially fleet operators.
Peter asked if there were any issues or tips that Sara would really like to deal with and she said that there are some that apply mostly to new users. More experienced EV users are probably on their second or third car by now. But for the new users there are so many things to be learned about different charging systems and cables. Sara said: “A good example is a lot of the rapid chargers which are 50 kilowatt or above have limited time allowances for them – so that you don’t hog it all day. This can be 90 minutes, but then the traffic sign next to it says you can only park here for two hours. So my brain instantly goes well, is it an hour and a half, two hours? Take your chances on the two hours and you will get a fine in the post!”
As my earlier blog, and Sara’s interview, suggests, there is still some way to go, but the industry is getting better. Customer experience is starting to be a real priority for EV users which gives payment and charging companies a real opportunity to differentiate their services with some very smart and sophisticated customers.