Las Vegas. The new Car eWallet from ZF, UBS and the innogy Innovation Hub, built on blockchain technology to ensure security, is an innovative payment system that makes it easy to pay for electric car charging while on the go. Additonally, this innovative solution will handle many other mobility-related payments, such as highway tolls, parking fees or car-sharing.
With electric cars, the main issues for drivers are short driving ranges and short charging cycles. Even when the driver does find a charging station, the various types of charging stations as well as different charge card and payment systems frequently prove to be challenging. To overcome such challenges, ZF collaborated with UBS and innogy Innovation Hub to develop the innovative Car eWallet, which can offer several convenient payment features and functions.
The Car eWallet will allow users pay on-the-go for highway tolls, parking fees and electric charging, and can collect fees for car-sharing, energy provisioning to the power system or delivery services. The innogy Innovation Hub, for example, makes it possible to integrate the charging infrastructure into the solution allowing the Car eWallet to automatically and securely handle the payment after charging the battery.
Automatic payment convenience
Like any normal wallet, the Car eWallet has to be filled on a regular base. Users can easily transfer money online from a PC or a dedicated mobile app and authorize the Car eWallet to independently make payments up to a certain limit. For example, on the morning drive to the office, the car will automatically pay a toll, thus saving the driver the trouble of waiting in line at a tollbooth. The driver is then notified while still in transit and the user receives updates online of every payment transaction made by the Car eWallet.
With the new solution developed jointly by ZF, UBS and the innogy Innovation Hub, every user will have rapid and simple access to the charging infrastructure registered on the blockchain.
No separate registration or login processes are required to make use of electric charging stations. Once connected to a charging station, vehicle batteries can be charged and the charging fees will be automatically paid by the Car eWallet.
Inductive charging – which could occur while waiting at a red light or at a pedestrian crossing – can only transmit small quantities of power to the vehicle. But every bit of power counts when increasing the electric car’s drive range. With its micropayment feature, the Car eWallet will be able to transact the smallest of payments which makes “charge on the go” more attractive for power suppliers.
Opening a variety of options
Another planned feature of the Car eWallet is to accept payments and authorize third-party access to the vehicle. Instead of having a potential ride or car-sharing vehicle standing uselessly in a parking lot, the Car eWallet could make it available for use to third parties and receive the fees for the car-sharing from the temporary driver.
Car eWallet will also allow access to the vehicle to third parties that are not drivers. For example, the Car eWallet user can enable the trunk of his or her parked car to open if a specific authentication code is scanned. It will allow delivering packages directly to a vehicle and placing them in the trunk, while still protecting the vehicle from unauthorized access.
Car eWallet could also be integrated into intelligent power supply systems. In future, intelligent power supply systems could use the blockchain technology in the car to control the charging process depending on the renewable energy available in the system. In particular, the car could also provision energy back to the power supply system if authorized by the user to fulfill such demand.
Secure blockchain technology
The underlying technology used for the Car eWallet is blockchain technology which allows for carrying out business transactions in near real-time without needing a centralized entity or trusted third party. Blockchain refers to a virtual, cryptographically secure chain of data blocks which store records of all transactions, so that a list of all user account balances can be generated. Because this list is stored on many computers and can be checked on by all users, the system is considered very secure.
The innovative Car eWallet was developed jointly by ZF, UBS and the innogy Innovation Hub. The partners are planning to field-test the Car eWallet in 2017.