Charged Up: Understanding the EV Infrastructure Market and Its Role for IoT


  • EV Infrastructure market in North America and Europe is expected to grow from 3.4 million connected EV charging points in 2020 to 7.6 million by 2025 million 

  • Cellular connectivity utilized in up to 50% of all EV setups in Europe and North America 

  • EV Charging Infrastructure has become a global IoT business, key players from North America, Europe, and China dominate this market and expand their businesses 

  • There are different technology and charging standards in place, few players such as Tesla set a global standard  

The rapid growth of IoT-connected EV charging points is confirmed by the key research companies like Gartner, Berg Insight, and Counterpoint. Most key EV players in Europe, North America, and China, as discussed in this article, have either migrated to or initiated the integration of IoT technologies due to their increasing benefits. Moreover, approximately 50% of the leading EV charging players utilize cellular networks for IoT connectivity to address safety concerns, enhance strategy-driven infrastructure, and meet interoperability requirements. 

IoT Growth within EV: Let Figures and Key Players Talk 

Despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and an energy crisis, the EV market remains a growth market. The growth of EVs enhances enterprises' environmental, social, and governance (ESG) profiles and involves more socially responsible investors. The European Union introduced the "Fit for 55" with the goal to bring at least 55% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Simultaneously, the Biden administration has brought to the table the idea of 50% electric vehicle (EV) adoption. IoT connectivity, in this context, contributes a lot in optimizing EV charging infrastructure, making it more efficient and sustainable. 

IoT sensors and networks are broadly utilized within mobile charging stations, making them more accessible for drivers. The roles of IoT hardware, software and connectivity are versatile here, including optimization operations and station maintenance, or uninterrupted data transfer to the cloud.  

Berg Insight projects that by 2025, Europe and North America will reach 7.9 million interconnected EV charging points. In 2020 there were 3.4 million reported charging points. Furthermore, at the onset of the study approximately 50% of charging points in Europe and 40% in North America were equipped with cellular connectivity. These stations primarily relied on technologies like Wi-Fi, GPRS, or 4G for communication between charge point operators and EV drivers, while the remaining stations were traditional, non-connected devices. 

In addition, according to Gartner's projection, by the year 2026, Chinese-branded vehicles are anticipated to account for over 50% of the total global sales of electric vehicles, which means potential growth of corresponding EV charging devices in the years to come.   

Below is an overview of EV charging equipment providers according to the three above regions. 

IoT Sensor & Network Relationship within EV Charging  

IoT networks can simplify the transition to broader EV adoption by providing real-time data to drivers without interruptions. The sensors equipped with monitoring functionalities continuously assess the operational status of charging equipment. This includes examinations of power delivery components, voltage stability, and charging cable integrity, among other parameters. They transmit this information to central management systems, and in case of malfunctions, automated maintenance protocols can be triggered, and technicians' assistance is scheduled.  

Moreover, data from these charging stations help Charging Point Operators (CPOs) and utilities to operate more efficiently. By sharing usage data, CPOs and utilities can collaborate to manage peak demand effectively and reduce spikes in electricity consumption. 

Electric Vehicle Charging Ecosystem 

IoT-connected EV infrastructure operates through a network of components and stakeholders. Electric vehicles (EVs) interact with charging points, utilizing IoT networks to communicate with charging point equipment. Charging point operators manage the charging units, ensuring power supply and energy distribution, while cloud data systems collect and process information. Roaming operators facilitate seamless access to charging points, and eMobility services tie it all together, offering comprehensive solutions to both EV users and infrastructure providers. 

Uncovering Safety Aspects: OCPP and DNS 

Obviously, EV charging projects, often deployed for up to 10 years, need reliability. IoT connectivity ensures that EV charging providers can effectively process transactions and provide real-time telemetry data, remotely monitor, and manage, reducing operational costs and improving uptime. 

The Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) is a standard for EV charging stations, but earlier versions lacked comprehensive security measures. Cellular connectivity can address these shortcomings, particularly with OCCP version 2.0, establishing secure, encrypted communication channels and avoiding potential cyber threats.  

At the same time, private DNS services are vulnerable to attacks, posing risks to EV chargers. Cellular-connected chargers can bypass public DNS services by using private DNS servers within the Cellular Service Provider (CSP) infrastructure, ensuring protection against external attacks.   

Cellular connectivity enables data visibility for charge point service providers, improving intrusion detection. Data on consumption, connectivity errors, and traffic patterns can be collected centrally, enabling timely responses to potential security breaches. By analyzing data consumption and network errors, service providers can quickly identify and mitigate security threats, ensuring uninterrupted charging services.  

Dealing with Infrastructure Availability, Range Anxiety, and Interoperability 

The widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) faces a significant challenge related to the availability of charging infrastructure. This is particularly an issue in less densely populated and rural regions, where the scarcity of charging stations can prevent potential EV buyers from making the switch. Cellular IoT technology enables real-time monitoring and management of existing charging stations. It helps identify areas with high demand and facilitates the strategic installation of new charging stations.   

On the other hand, range anxiety, the fear of running out of battery power before reaching a charging station, has become the second most significant obstacle to EV adoption, surpassing the upfront cost. Through cellular IoT connectivity, EVs can access instant information about nearby charging stations. Drivers can receive notifications and recommendations on when and where to charge based on their route and remaining battery capacity. 

Different regions and charging networks often use varying charging standards, creating compatibility issues for EV owners who may find it challenging to use different charging networks. Cellular IoT acts as a bridge between different charging standards. When an EV owner plugs their vehicle into a charging station, the cellular IoT system identifies the vehicle's requirements and communicates with the station to ensure the correct charging protocol is used. This interoperability simplifies the charging process, making it hassle-free for EV drivers. 

Varying Charging Standards (Europe, North America, Japan, China, Globally) 

To Sum Up 

The expansion of IoT-connected EV charging points signals a robust response to challenges faced by the EV industry. Notably, key players in Europe, North America, and China are swiftly adopting IoT technologies, with nearly half of them employing cellular networks to enhance safety, boost infrastructure strategies, and meet interoperability demands. Cellular networks are changing the EV charging landscape, making it more efficient, safe, and heading toward a more sustainable future.