E-Mobility stuck in between - until we connect the dots


Imagine fueling up your car with petrol without having to go through the payment terminal, no code, no physical card, no selection of fuel type or volume. Just connect the hose and it will fill up according the recognized fuel contract and might even apply your specific preferences, BPme, Shell Fill up & Go, Texaco App, Total.

All fossil players are looking in to such, trying to harvest you as a customer, but why! Because we’re the demand! And yes they might also benefit getting rid of payment terminals and their connected services, removing costly contracts and the potential needed servicing causing downtime of their business (just a couple of wins on their side).

So nowadays we connect fuel we’ll make it V2X, X2V, X2X everything has an APP, and there’s more to harvest then just the fuel revenue. It’s about knowing your customers and giving them convenience, getting them in your ecosystem and getting the fair price for what you offer in the ecosystem.

By reading the above everyone understands that the E-Mobility industry can leapfrog the existing way of working. This industry can completely redesign the existing way of ‘fueling’. Would you prefer half wind half nuclear powered this weekend, the possibilities are endless. And yes I know that this can also be done with regular fuels, and that it’s already happening, but it’s not just as easy as it could be in E-Mobility.

But do I see such a leapfrogging situation right now? No, so why are such innovations similarly slow in the eMobility industry?

In the Netherlands there’s lots of public charging infrastructure (I just happen to live there). But 99% requires cards/tokens to be presented/linked. And because there’s an above average set of eMobility-roaming agreements, the adoption of apps for payment/authorization is low (luckily)! I say luckily because investing in everything that’s not the final solution is waste. And yes a APP might be important but not for authorizing.

It’s because industry can’t agree fast enough, they’re being disrupted. So none was in the standards off the chargers and the cars that arrived early. Meaning that in the public tenders in the Netherlands there was nothing to demand, so we ended up with swiping cards because we just happen to know this.

Lots of people ask me: ‘why do I have to swipe a card when ending a transaction’. It’s because from the early days of the industry we’ve the heritage of vehicles which didn’t lock the cable on the vehicles side. Meaning that disconnecting from vehicle would lead to disconnection from the charger, which would result in stealing cables. So we live in this situation because there’s a limited amount of vehicles which are getting ‘old’. And yes there’s smart solutions in place to resolve this now but still sometimes this situation exists.

Long term the obvious thing might happen, OEM’s in automotive will become the potential gateway to new or bigger energy customers by making use of their ISO 15118 implementation. It’s giving the customer their beloved convenience and low price and allows the OEM to scrape some margin from the recurring revenue of the ‘fuel’ of the future. And all this seems fair because the OEM’s can’t live from their aftersales like they do now.

So we’ll see OEM’s hunting for energy revenue. But when will this happen:

In the Netherlands the first chargers with this ‘new’ ISO standard are slowly entering the market, accompanied by the first cars. And like always the hardware is already in place but the software isn’t on par yet. But in 2 years from now people might love this. 

Sometimes an article didn’t tell you anything new, but it just convinces you of what you already knew, it’s like Facebook :). Please leave comments. 


This is article is contributed by Basten de Jonge -  a multidisciplinary technology expert with broad experience in the automotive and utilities industries. He’s been an EV charge point engineer, product owner and instrumental in most of the charging infrastructure projects in the Netherlands.

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