Driving the energy transition through smart charging
Deftpower is still young, but the Arnhem-based company's ambitions are grand, ever since its founding in 2020. In Deftpower's vision, electric vehicles (EVs) are not only a means of getting from A to B, but also play a key role in the energy transition. Indeed, in the near future they will also be power banks, flexible buffers in which surplus renewable energy can be stored for times when demand exceeds supply.
To accelerate the energy transition, Deftpower wants to offer EV users, energy suppliers, charging network operators and other mobility service providers the very best way to charge EVs. Greater ease of use will lead to faster adoption of EVs and thus accelerate the reduction of dependence on fossil fuels.
Provide a superior customer experience
How is Deftpower trying to create that superior customer experience? Among other things, through a portal that allows mobility service providers to manage their charging networks and vehicle fleets, set rates, handle payments and invoicing, and communicate with drivers about current outages, for example. In addition, Deftpower offers a white label charging app where car manufacturers, leasing companies and fuel card providers can add their own corporate identity. The charging app should provide a superior customer experience at home and on the road, making EV drivers satisfied customers and keeping them that way. The app therefore offers access to more than 500,000 charging stations across Europe, enables authentication and payment at charging stations, and provides suggestions for optimal charging locations and updates on charging sessions.
In 2023, our colleague, senior consultant, Raymond helped develop and roll out a new functionality in the Deftpower app: smart charging.
This is especially interesting for home chargers, especially in combination with a dynamic electricity contract. What we have built is a function that determines the optimal, i.e. the cheapest charging profile"
Raymond explains. Based on data that the user enters - for example, the level of charging required and the scheduled departure time - and based on the expected power rates for the next 24 hours, the app determines the best time to charge. "That doesn't have to be a continuous period. A charging session can also be paused to take advantage of power rates that can vary by the hour."
"Deftpower is a company with an organization and systems already in place. With an experienced software development team and a clear vision they stick to. I was truly part of the team. After quickly mastering the domain knowledge, the different systems and teams, and their interdependencies, it was mostly a matter of gaining mileage for me."
The goal was to get smart charging live for a much larger group of users. That meant we had to enable communication with the vehicle for some of the most common car brands in the Deftpower customer group, for example sending commands to start or pause a charging session."
This is still not always easy says Raymond: “Tesla, I believe, is the only manufacturer that has opened up its API to do so. For other manufacturers, it's a matter of reverse engineering to make that communication possible. When we started, it was possible for three car brands; by the end of my time at Deftpower, we were at eight. And enabling that also meant testing the software we developed at manufacturer sites."
Anticipating the future
"The functionalities we have added to the app are already valuable. But with this, Deftpower is also clearly anticipating the possibility of cars returning power to the grid in the future, called bidirectional charging. That fits right in with their vision to leverage electric cars in driving the energy transition."