California to Receive First Blockchain-Based EV Charging Network

  • Emma Sandler
  • July 12, 2017

Starting this summer, California owners of electric vehicle charging stations enabled with eMotorWerks’ JuiceNet smart-grid charging technology will have the opportunity to utilize blockchain-based payment systems.

And the vision, it seems, for blockchain-based EV stations is that a self-driving car could go to a charging station and have that station accept payment through the use of smart contracts.

In theory, this kind of payment could also make EV charging cheaper, as it would eliminate the credit card fees applied to stations. In April 2017, hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles were implemented with blockchain technology across Germany by Innogy.

The new blockchain peer-to-peer network is powered by MotionWerk’s Share&Charge open platform, according to a company press release. Share&Charge was founded by the Innogy Innovation Hub, which is part of Innogy SE, Germany’s leading energy company. The partnership between MotionWerk’s Share&Charge and eMotorWerks marks the first P2P charging network to use blockchain technology in North America.

“With this new sharing technology we are bringing to North America, we aim to prove how blockchain technology can make sharing and payment easier and more efficient,” Dietrich Sümmerman, an official of Share&Charge, said in a statement.

“[Innogy] is using Ether like a database instead of an Ether currency,” Jacob Eliosoff, who runs a crypto-currency fund, told Mobility Finance. “It’s being used to keep track of transactions.”

There are benefits for this kind of transaction because a blockchain network is global and accessible everywhere on the internet, Eliosoff said. “The idea is to remove single points of failure,” like being blocked by a government.

“Blockchain is not doing much right now,” he added, referring to the fact that blockchain is currently used more for laying the groundwork for future high-level uses. But the use of blockchain-backed EV charging stations is not a “gratuitous” use of blockchain. Many use-cases of blockchain and crypto-currency do not add much value, he said.

However, for Innogy, “there is a serious underlying plan, but it’s in the early stages,” he said, and Innogy’s plan is significant.

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