In-Vehicle Charging

In-Vehicle Charging, specifically EV (electric vehicle) charging plays an important role in the future of the Automotive industry, with more and more OEMs introducing electric vehicles to the market and countries all over the world investing in EV infrastructure. This change in the Automotive industry comes with additional complexity for EV drivers when it comes to managing route, availability of charging stations and travel time.

TomTom aims to reduce this complexity for EV drivers by offering an integrated solution for planning an optimal route that takes into account the charging needs of the car, available charging points (EVSEs) en route and seamless integration with e-mobility service providers (eMSPs). An eMSP is a service that provides electric vehicle drivers access to charging points in a particular geographical area. Integrating an eMSP with TomTom Digital Cockpit allows the driver to start and stop the charging process and to pay for charging using that service from within their IVI system without using an app on their phone.

TomTom Digital Cockpit provides an architecture that allows different eMSPs to be integrated into the system at the same time allowing the end-user to pay for the charging transaction using different providers. Typically an eMSP would be configured by a carmaker to be used in specific georgraphical areas based on what regions the eMSP supports and what agreement there is between the carmaker and the eMSP.

Tomtom Digital Cockpit comes preintegrated with Deftpower, an e-mobility service provider's app. This allows carmakers to provide their customers with the ability to charge their vehicle and pay for charging using only their vehicle dashboard with little integration effort compared to if they had to integrate an eMSP from scratch.

A single common and consistent user interface is also provided as part of the TomTom Digitial Cockpit application suite which allows the driver to charge their vehicle and pay for charging using different charging providers in the same way. Carmakers can opt to use this user interface in their in-dash systems, customize TomTom's offering or provide their own to their customers.

High-level overview

The technical architecture of the In-Vehicle Charging domain within TomTom Digital Cockpit consists of three main layers:

The first layer is the EV Charging frontend which comes with TomTom Digital Cockpit's application suite. This provides the driver with a UI to search for a charging station compatible with their vehicle, select a suitable charging point, start charging their vehicle, monitor the charging process and to pay for charging.

In the second layer, there is a platform service called the EvChargingMediatorService. This service is responsible for controlling the UI's access to the different eMSP integrations in the system.

Finally in the third layer, are the IVI services that provide access to a specific eMSP. These services would typically call the relevant APIs to access an eMSP's cloud backend in response to user actions on the UI. For example, if the driver used the in-dash UI to start charging their vehicle, then the EvChargingMediatorService from the layer above will select a suitable eMSP from those available in the system and then the selected eMSP service will call the relevant API to connects to the eMSP's cloud backend to start the charging process.

The following diagram provides an illustration of this EV Charging architecture:

In-Vehicle Charging domain high-level overview image

An eMSP can be integrated into the platform by creating an IVI service that implements the EvChargingService interface. This interface can only be implemented by discoverable IVI services and hence more than one can exist in the system.

The platform service EvChargingMediatorService internally holds references to all the known eMSP integrations and mediates access to each of them. This service can also be used by the UI frontend to display the correct charging state to the driver. For example, it contains APIs that allow the UI to monitor when the user has started charging their vehicle and based on this state, it can display a "stop charging" button for the driver to tap to allow the charging session to be stopped.

In-Vehicle Charging Glossary

Many domain-specific terms that relate to in-vehicle charging exist. These are summarized below:

  • Charging Park/Pool: A grouping of charging stations that share a close location.
  • Charging Station: A station is a physical grouping of one or more EVSEs, sharing a common user identification interface.
  • Connector: The connector is the physical interface connecting to the car.
  • CPO: Charge Point Operators install and maintain charge stations. CPOs can either own and operate Charging Park/station, or operate them for third parties.
  • EV: Electric Vehicle.
  • EVSE: Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment is the part of a station that will handle the charging process of one EV at a time and may have one meter. An EVSE may have one or several connectors but only one can be used at a time.