Every day, thousands of Kiwis in the Waikato rely on WEL Networks (WEL) to provide them with innovative energy solutions. In recent years, WEL have continued to modernise their network offerings by investing in new technologies - such as strategically placing rapid-chargers for anyone with an Electric Vehicle (EV).
With the uptake in the number of EVs in New Zealand, especially by businesses, WEL are expecting to see in excess of 50,000 electric vehicles in the Waikato by 2030.
To lead the way in meeting this business demand, WEL initiated We.EV - a programme designed to:
- Help businesses transition their fleets efficiently
- Design, install and support EV charging infrastructure for businesses
- Provide a user-friendly unified portal for EV charging management
To be successful, the We.EV programme needed to develop a specialised platform for WEL to monitor, report, maintain, configure, and control EV chargers for business fleet managers and charger administrators. WEL, in partnership with Enlighten Designs, decided to embark on a journey of digitising their offering that would encourage business customers to establish and manage their own electric vehicle fleets and contribute to the national carbon-zero initiative.
From the beginning, it was acknowledged that EV chargers are dynamic and would require an equally innovative solution. The other challenge was to be able to move quickly due to the competitive market for EV-related solutions. WEL needed to make sure their offering would help them retain their position as market leaders, especially for Waikato.
WEL initiated a multi-party project to extensively cover all the touchpoints of their customers' electric journey, from transforming their fleets to EVs to managing them on a daily basis. Thus, We.EV was born – a complete end-to-end solution that empowers businesses to confidently make the move towards a sustainable future and efficiently manage their own EV fleets.
Enlighten’s role was to create the user interface for the consolidated platform that WEL’s customers would need to interact with and manage charging of their vehicles, as well as allow WEL to onboard, manage and support the businesses transitioning to EVs on their network.
For designing and building such a platform, the Enlighten Designs team started off with the most basic question: who would be using the application/interface and how. Three main personas were provided: Eva, the driver, Fletcher, the fleet manager, Wall-E, the WEL admin. Out of these, the focus of the project was Fletcher and Wall-E.
The primary driver for Wall-E was to configure, monitor and maintain EV chargers that have been installed. Fletchers, on the other hand, are more concerned with reporting on energy and emissions to support fleet transition programs. In other words, we needed to create distinct but functional experiences for our two main users within the same platform.
We started wireframing the design based on what a specific user would need to see or do on any given day. For example, Fletcher's main dashboard would be different from Wall-E's as their daily requirements and responsibilities would vary.
Then, we added the design layer using the branding developed for WEL Networks by D&Co. The two main concepts behind the design were to make the interface modern and utilitarian, just like an electric vehicle.
With our Agile approach and regular check-ins, we were able to consolidate feedback from all stakeholders on both the design and development and incorporate that back into the solution to deliver a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to WEL's first client, WINTEC.
The final solution is a web-based application for We.EV, hosted on Azure for reliability, speed, and scalability. As a result, no matter where it is used, the ease of accessibility as well as complete data security is guaranteed, making it an effortless solution for WEL to offer their clients.
With this platform, WEL Networks can assist businesses to operate, monitor, configure, and report on their EV charging assets efficiently. By helping WEL build their internal capability and IP, Enlighten Designs are supporting WEL – and their customers - in contributing to New Zealand’s Net Zero goal of becoming 100% renewable by 2030.