CrowdStrom joint project

Crowdsourcing charging services by small-scale providers as an innovative business model (CrowdStrom)


CrowdStrom-LogoImproving charging infrastructure by making private charging pointsavailable for the public

Electric vehicles require a new kind of infrastructure – well-distributed and accessible charging points. At the moment, gaps in the supply network (very few charging points) and limited electric vehicle range due to immature battery technology constitute obstacles that keep potential buyers from actually making the switch to an electric vehicle. However, setting up a comprehensive charging infrastructure requires huge investments that are only profitable with the related demand for such a charging infrastructure. So how do we solve this dilemma? Do we need to have a large number of electric vehicles before we can expand the charging infrastructure, or do we first have to increase the number of charging points in order to boost sales of electric vehicles?


Crowdsourcing charging services: A new business model

In the consortium research project CrowdStrom researchers and practitioners collaborate to resolve this chicken-and-egg problem. Resorting to already existing infrastructure, the project approach encourages users to participate by making their private charging point available to a broad community. During the development of the innovative business model, the project team assesses price expectations and the willingness to pay using defined methodologies. An online portal is developed as the central tool to unite customers’ supply of and demand for electric vehicle charging points. This requires new and standardized processes that are being developed, such as registration, billing, etc. At the same time, the project identifies legal hurdles for enabling participants to offer their private infrastructure to the public using CrowdStrom.


Constructing an ideal charging infrastructure via service provider networks

Based on the business model, the participating utility company Stadtwerke Münster plans to target (private) small-scale charging infrastructure providers and persuade them to offer their charging points to the public. By interconnecting the usual conventional supply contracts with e-mobility services (charging services), the public utility company is able to position itself in the market as a turnkey solution provider for mobility and power generation and thus strengthen its market position. The international service corporation TÜV Süd AG, which until now has focused mainly on (large) operators, can use the results to extend their offer toward smaller private- and commercial-customer segments. Because of the associated high costs, the current rates for commissioning, testing and certification of charging points cannot be used in the private-customer segment. Using the business model developed as part of the project, TÜV Süd AG can now offer an affordable “light certification” for private customers, so that every (private) charging point can also receive a TÜV seal.

Keywords: e-mobility, crowdsourcing, charge spot, small-scale operators, business model



Dr. Martin Matzner
ERCIS – European Research Center for Information Systems
University of Münster
Leonardo-Campus 3
48149 Münster

Phone: +49 251 83-38 088
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