The economics of electric vehicles (EVs) are hard to ignore – significantly cheaper to charge vs. fuel; up to 10x cheaper to maintain; a lifetime up to 2.5x as long as internal combustion engine vehicles and prices that continue to come down, driven by improving battery costs. These fundamentals are largely why the Bloomberg New Energy Finance 2019 Electric Vehicle Outlook suggests there will be 540 million EVs on the road by 2040: 500 million passenger vehicles and more than 40 million commercial EVs.

To play their part in driving adoption, those behind the development of large-scale EV charging networks must continue to make charging as seamless and user-friendly as possible. ABB’s partnership with Elatec recognizes payment as a key component in this effort.

Accept authorization from digital card

Until now, EV drivers using out-of-home charging had to authorize their charges with a physical RFID card. This meant needing to register and wait for a card through the mail, looking through a wallet or purse at the charging station, and waiting, again, for replacements when RFID cards are damaged or lost,” said Frank Muehlon, Head of ABB’s global business for EV Charging Infrastructure. “The new innovation by ABB and long-term partner Elatec, a provider of RFID technology, means ABB EV chargers are able to accept authorization from a digital card stored in the users’ Apple or Android Wallet, making EV charging easier and more accessible than ever before.”

The new technology enables charging service operators and e-mobility service providers to support authorization using a membership pass stored in a users’ cellphone wallet held against a TWN4 RFID reader, as an optional alternative to the physical RFID card they currently use. As a result, when an EV owner wants to recharge on the go, all that’s needed is the quick pass of a smart phone or watch.

Growth of Electric vehicles adoption

As the original RFID reader supplier for ABB, the partnership between the two companies is well established. When one of ABB’s customers, Electrify America, asked for cellphone authorization functionality, Elatec was the obvious partner. The innovation is live for Electrify America - the US and Canada are the first markets to adopt the technology – and is also open for use anywhere in the world.

ABB sees mass technology adoption, including near field communication (NFC), as key to enabling growth of the EV market. This innovation is not a celebration of proprietary ABB technology, but an opportunity to move forward as an industry with solutions that encourage wider EV adoption to achieve scale.

Leveraging open standards and interoperability

As a non-proprietary technology, the use of NFC is also a key example of leveraging open standards and interoperability as a foundation to drive EV charging infrastructure development and deployment. From safety, scalability, savings, security and simplicity, interoperability enhances the fundamentals across virtually all aspects of EV infrastructure development. As noted in ABB’s recent White Paper, standards and interoperability: scaling EV charging infrastructure, 'Open standards create a common knowledge-base and language for consumers as well as infrastructure stakeholders; this understanding correlates directly with greater adoption and investment in EVs and infrastructure.'

With open standards as the foundation, further developments in charging will combine with practical regulatory policies, underpinning increasingly rapid commercialisation and a steeper growth curve for EV adoption overall.

And now, EV drivers can experience the fruits of this progress one smartphone wave at a time.

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