The biggest myth in e-mobility tendering



The main problem with tendering is how the bidding companies must prove their technical, legal, economic, and practical capacity to carry out the work.

All at the same time. This leads to an enormous list of checkpoints, where bidders win or lose points, and the one with the highest score usually walks away with the deal.

High-scorer or acrobat?

Does this mean the winning bidders have the highest scores on all criteria, the best solution in every conceivable way, and also the best price? By no means. But they probably did offer the best balance according to a specific ranking system.

Bottom line is that nobody can be the best at everything. If that really were the case, clearly there wouldn’t be any competition left.

Construction challenges

This may look like a bit of a strange analogy but it will help clarify the flaw in the concept of current e-mobility tendering. Imagine you want to build a house. You are certainly not a construction professional, you just want a place to live in and sleep. So you ask the experts for an offer. You receive tender proposals from an electrician, a gardener, and a bricklayer.

Here’s the catch. Whoever wins gets to do everything from building your house, designing your interiors, planting your garden, to wiring your house. You read that right. Now let’s suppose building the actual house is the most important feature: the bricklayer wins on points.

...But what about the garden? Are you still happy about the house wiring? Will it be as good and safe as the one done by the electrician?

So why is this an all-or-nothing tendering package? If you follow the premise that you can’t be the best at everything, do you automatically have to accept the good and the bad, as if that were the only possible way?

Since tendering is a fixed-term process, after 4 years you go through the same process all over again. You know the bricklayer is not as good at planting as the gardener, or as good at wiring as the electrician. But because he already built your current house, he’ll be the only one in this new tender that doesn’t require you to tear down your house and start from scratch. It’s a no-brainer - he’s unbeatable on price. 

The tendering process doesn’t give you the best solution for all aspects, and re-tendering will never fix that.

Charging Networks need gardens too

As a matter of fact, supplying a public charging network and services is very different from building a house. Nobody lets a bricklayer do the garden, and we don’t expect the electrician to lay the bricks when it comes to building houses. We know from the very beginning that there are specialists and if we tender, we should tender separately. That’s the garden, building a house, and keeping additional services separated so that the experts can win in their own fields. For e-mobility tenders, however, the winner takes it all. 

What if it doesn’t have to be like this? It is assumed that it’s an all-or-nothing game since the key element is the charging station, and whoever manages the charging station is the central point for everything else. That charging station can only be connected to one system, and that system has to be able to do everything from managing the actual chargers to roaming and additional services. At that rate, it may as well be moving your lawn and painting the walls too. You cannot separate out those services in a separate tender because there can only be one system connected to the charging station. As said, that’s the going assumption.

But what if all this is really just an assumption that has never been questioned? Worse yet, it’s a wrong assumption. You only need to take the right system architecture into account. When building a house, we are used to having specialists do their part of the work. There’s usually a site manager in charge of the coordination between the bricklayer, the electrician, and the gardener to make sure they work well together. If the gardener isn’t a good fit, there’s no need to replace the bricklayer and the electrician as well. Can you imagine the awkward conversation?

Site Manager turned gateway

The site manager plays a very important role because he is the gateway between your infrastructure, namely the house, and the services that you need in order to build and maintain it. In an e-mobility architecture, that gateway would also be placed between your infrastructure — the chargers — and of course, the services that you need to build and maintain it. 

Chargers can indeed only connect to one system, but that should be the gateway, not the charge point management system.

On the other side of the gateway, various systems can be connected simultaneously for service and maintenance, roaming and billing, smart charging, or other extras. In e-mobility, having such a gateway system in place allows different services to be tendered and re-tendered separately, without the dreaded full-scale migration projects and costs in case of a new winner. 

This kind of gateway would allow for independent (3party) performance criteria validation and verification like uptime and utilization rate, whereas in the traditional tender now the winner gets to measure and produce their own performance information. It also allows the tendering party to have full access to their data without having to depend on whatever the winning system allows them to see or export.

There are so many benefits for the tendering party to use an independent gateway solution, that it makes you wonder why it’s not a fundamental element in all tenders.

Truth be told, it is a chicken-and-egg problem

There are very few of those gateway systems currently on the market and only one that’s really independent of charge point management systems, and that is ChargeBroker. And since there are so few, not many people know about them. Even fewer people have enough actual experience with these systems to fully realize the enormous potential they unlock. Almost everybody involved in writing tenders is still stuck in the misconception that the one system connected to the chargers must always be the all-controlling-omnipotent charge point management system. But that doesn’t have to be true.


Meet ChargeBroker built on Architecture 2.0.

ChargeBroker is a cloud-based Electric Vehicle gateway, compliant with all EV Charging protocols. Built with ingenious architecture (Architecture 2.0.) that brings back flexibility and scalability, ChargeBroker stimulates innovation and facilitates growth, unifies operations, and provides full standardization across the e-mobility landscape. Developed with Architecture 2.0., its API connects to any e-mobility service, making secure and scalable growth possible, opening up the charging landscape for the future of smart services.

And what ChargeBroker offers? Uniformed access across networks, partners of choice options, interconnectivity by design, agnosticism to hardware vendors, seamless migration.

With ChargeBroker, operators such as local governments, fleet owners, and commercial charge point operators can monetize across various networks, following their unique service roadmaps, unrestricted by the business strategies of their charge point management system providers.

If this has made you curious, please check out 😊