O2 has signed a deal to provide M2M connectivity to Chargemaster's POLAR network of UK network of electric vehicle (EV) charging points. All the details of the story are here.
EV charging is one of the categories of M2M communications covered in our report Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Communication in the Utilities Sector 2010-20. Globally we predict that there will be over one million EV charging M2M connections by 2020, up from just a few thousand today. Since they'll often be clustered we're not expecting one connection per charging point though. So the total number of charging points will be much higher than that.
In terms of technology, we are expecting cellular technologies to dominate EV charging points globally. It is easier to deploy and more secure. This differs from Smart Metering (the other major utilities segment) where we mostly expect powerline and community WiFi to dominate, although not in the UK.
The growth of electric vehicles will be a major stimulus to M2M for reasons that I've laid out in a previous blogpost. Not least the need to know where the nearest charging point is. Electric vehicles are necessarily much more integrated into a centralised system than petrol cars due to the dependence on recharging. This is exactly where M2M comes into its own: where a network of distributed items need to communicate in real time with each other and with a centralised system.