Is the third-party charging service app a new opportunity?
I believe many owners of pure electric vehicles have had similar experiences:
In order to facilitate daily charging of cars, timely access to charging preferences information, download several chain charging brand APP in mobile phone, official account of more than ten charging stations, and collect dozens of charging procedures.
I thought it was enough to cover most charging stations, but when I went to a strange place to charge, I found that I still had to download some new brand apps and authorize new charging applets, which made the charging process very cumbersome.
Therefore, the voice of pure electric vehicle owners for "national one network" is also getting higher and higher. Although the "national one-piece network" is still the dream of car owners, there are "several networks" - Didi's "Xiaoju charging", Langxin technology's "xindiantu", Evergrande's "Xingluo charging link", energy chain's "fast electricity" and other charging service platforms are also "racing and enclosure" all over the country.
These integrate the service platforms of franchise charging piles and charging stations, which seems to realize the mutual commonality between charging piles of different brands. In other words, just download a charging service platform app and collect a small program, and you can realize a series of processes such as code scanning, charging and payment on the franchise charging piles. But what is the actual effect?
At present, the charging service platform war is in full swing. Preferential activities such as "one penny charging" and "free service fee" are often launched, which has captured the favor of a large number of new users and pure electric vehicle owners. Under the temptation, some private charging stations have successively chosen to "bring piles to the network" - join the mainstream charging service platform, and what situation will this move bring?
"Charging for a penny" can't keep customers
"At present, the company is discussing the cooperation between charging pile and charging station with two (charging) service platforms."
Talking about the topic of private charging stations joining the charging service platform by "entering the network with piles", the operation manager "SM" (pseudonym) of a new energy equipment investment institution in Panyu, Guangzhou appears both excited and helpless. He revealed that the charging piles and charging stations ready to join the charging service platform are located in remote areas of Huangpu District and Nansha District.
The operators of these stations hope to maintain the operation of remote charging stations through cooperation with charging service platforms. After all, charging piles and charging stations "die of waterlogging and drought". Charging stations that are planning to "bring piles into the network" to join the charging service platform belong to the former.
"When the charging station was built, the company also developed a dedicated charging app. But it hasn't operated well for three years." SM told me that due to the scarcity of houses around the charging station and the low flow of people, they can only do "emergency" business at ordinary times, that is, there are pure electric vehicles nearby, and the power is just low, so they can only try their best to charge in the charging station.
Since the car just ran out of power, even if it was found that the charging station was not a mainstream platform, and even when recharging and charging, it was necessary to download a new charging app, car owners eager to charge could only struggle to become new registered users of the app, "Colleagues at the site once said that once the owner saw that he wanted to download the app, he had to recharge in advance, and then he could stick to the battery life. He jumped into the car and ran away."
In order to attract pure electric vehicle owners in urban and suburban areas to some remote charging stations for charging, the company has also taken great pains. Since the second half of last year, it has successively launched preferential activities of charging "free service charge". In April and may of this year, it has launched "charging for a penny", which is completely a cry for losing money.
"The activity has indeed attracted many budget conscious car owners, who don't hesitate to drive more than ten kilometers to the charging station to charge." But what makes SM speechless is that as long as the activity intensity is slightly weakened, the charging car owners will be reduced. Once the preferential activities are cancelled, the passenger flow will immediately return to its original shape.
At the same time, using the gimmick of "charging for a penny" to attract car owners to recharge, so as to retain charging customers, it is gradually difficult to use. Although "one penny charging" is very attractive to car owners, they plan to recharge 100 yuan first, and then they don't often go to remote charging stations to charge, so they give up their preferential rights and interests.
"Originally, the top management of the company insisted on operating their own app to retain the brand tone, but looking at some remote charging stations, the charging vehicles are only single digits every day, and the operation has fallen into difficulties one after another. In addition, the surrounding power stations also began to seek a platform to join, so they almost began to sit still."
SM told me that the charging service platform does not invest in and build free charging piles and charging stations, but thanks to its strong capital and resource strength, it has a large number of user resources. Although after joining the platform, the brand app completely exists in vain, it is replaced by the friendly user compatibility and experience of the charging service platform, as well as the inclination of promotion and traffic resources.
Private charging stations also need "service"?
According to the data, by the end of June 2021, there were 4.93 million pure electric vehicles.
Didi's "Xiaoju charging" currently has more than 1.34 million users; Hengda's "Xingluo charging link" also set a record of 170000 new registered users in a single day in March this year. The huge user traffic of these service platforms is beyond the reach of any private charging station app.
"The reason why we plan to join the charging (service) platform is that we are interested in the huge user group of the platform." Zhou Yang (a pseudonym) operates six small-scale new energy charging stations in Bao'an District and Pingshan District of Shenzhen. After nearly three months of negotiation, the six charging stations will be settled in two mainstream charging service platforms in batches.
At present, the good cooperation plan is that after the charging station is settled in the charging service platform, it will give priority to the nearby user traffic in the first three months, cultivate the habit of charging by some users to the station, and there will be activity support in the follow-up. "The effect of discount charging activities on the large platform must be much better than self operated app."
More importantly, the charging service platform is to "package" a large number of charging stations to plan relevant promotion activities. In terms of capital and resource investment, it is also a private charging brand that can't catch up with it. In addition to promotion, most platforms cooperate with navigation app, which greatly facilitates nearby car owners to find charging stations through the platform.
At the same time, the charging station no longer needs to worry that the owner will give up charging because of the cumbersome operations such as downloading app and registering members. At the same time, the stored value in the charging service platform is common to all settled charging piles and charging stations. Users no longer need to prepay unfamiliar applet when charging, and the final balance cannot be returned.
"Anyway, the charging station settles fees with the charging service platform. Even if the balance of the owner's stored value is insufficient and unpaid, the platform will advance money to the account of the charging station on the T + 1 working day. Even if it is charged first and then paid, it is not afraid to run the bill." Zhou Yang told that in order to attract more customers to charge at the station, the company launched the settlement method of charging first and then paying. However, nearly 1% of the car owners still ran the bill, which was surprising.
However, all the above services are not without cost. In return, the charging station needs to pay a service fee ranging from 20% to 25% to the charging service platform as a single charging Commission. It greatly reduces the profit margin of the "small profit" charging station, "but if you are unwilling to be drawn by the platform, there will be no inclination of user traffic, and the site can't make money. Why bother?"
He admitted that if the passenger flow of the charging station can be increased to 80 ~ 120% of that claimed in the cooperation scheme after entering the platform, the profit is still 1-1.5 times higher than that in the period of self operated app, self built promotion and activity planning of the charging station, excluding the service commission of the payment platform.
It can be seen that the cooperation mode between charging station and charging service platform is similar to the previous online car Hailing. After the charging station "enters the network with piles", the platform provides corresponding traffic, promotion and even financial services, and draws a certain commission at the same time. It is puzzling that for ordinary private charging stations, is joining the mainstream charging service platform really profitable without harm?
What about being "stuck" by the platform?
"If there is a way, who (charging station) will choose to cooperate with the charging service platform?"
In March this year, under the leadership of Jinyu (a pseudonym), the company's three new energy charging stations in Huadu, Guangzhou officially signed a "deed of sale" to join a mainstream charging service platform. He told that he understood the notes, but when the platform's settlement system was written into the charging pile, it indicates that the charging station will lose the management authority of some charging station data.
Whenever the settlement cycle comes, the charging station will only receive a cold revenue data from the platform, listing only the power consumption, number of users, revenue service fee of the charging station in the current month, as well as the platform service commission to be deducted. As for the information and group portrait of charging users, there is no way to know.
"After joining the platform, the revenue of the charging station has doubled. So I can only comfort myself. There are gains and losses." For the operators of charging stations, the increase in revenue is a good thing after all. However, Jin Yu still feels that the charging station has become a service platform and a wealth collecting tool for enterprises behind the platform, and he has an indescribable embarrassment in his heart.
However, the adjustment of charging service platform commission policy in may just verified his inner uneasiness. He explained that at the beginning of the cooperation, the platform promised to charge 20% commission for the charging station, but the proportion suddenly rose to 25% in May. "Due to the increase of passenger flow, the charging station is highly dependent on the platform, and there is no way to say no."
At the same time, other participating charging stations that were required to meet at the headquarters of the charging service platform to discuss the increase of commission ratio also revealed to Jinyu that they felt "stuck". Especially when the charging pile was connected to the settlement system of the platform, it could only be slaughtered and had no bargaining power at all.
"I think the charging station of the franchise platform is very similar to the online car Hailing drivers in those years. At the beginning, it joined the online car Hailing platform with generous subsidies. Later, as the platform has more and more traffic, it can even control the income of franchise drivers, the platform began to subsidize and increase Commission. I'm afraid the charging (service) platform is the same model."
Even if the charging station finds that the Commission of the platform is rising higher and higher and is ready to leave, it will lead to the loss of original users and the lack of precipitation of new traffic due to the long-term non operation of its own app. Finally, it can only go to the end under the rules and framework of the platform, "the charging station that can operate still insists on its own operation. It really can't consider the so-called service platform."
It can be seen that the charging service platform is somewhat similar to the online car Hailing platform of that year. Through "favorable" conditions, private charging stations are attracted to give up the mode of self owned brand and self operating app and join the platform instead, so as to realize the profit of "making money lying down". But as a result, although the charging station does not need to invest energy in operation, it also gradually loses control of user resources.
Once the charging platform is stuck, the so-called "regular" terms of the charging station are not reasonable. Once the charging platform is stuck, the Commission is completely adjustable. Therefore, for some private charging stations, the charging service platform can be described as a double-edged sword.
This dilemma has no solution for the time being.