RFID will disappear and EC payments won't replace it

If I think of EnBW, for example, they already offered card payment at all of their fast charging stations many years ago. The prices were good and yet no one used it. It was more complicated than a RFID card and more expensive for operators than RFID, so EnBW removed the feature again.


Now in Germany we are fixating on EC card payments because that is also how we pay at gas stations. But forget again that you simply can't compare gas stations with charging stations.


The future lies in Plug & Charge and everyone who knows anything about the industry knows that.

This standard is a method in which the car identifies itself to the charging station using a unique ID via the charging cable and the charging station then knows where it gets its money from. All the customer has to do is plug it in and off they go. It couldn't be more comfortable.


In fact, German car manufacturers are even leaders when it comes to Plug & Charge. Mercedes, for example, implemented the first versions of this standard in the fully electric smart fortwo over 10 years ago.

Even providers like Ionity now support it and so do its shareholders, including Mercedes, Porsche, VW and BMW.


The advantages are obvious:

For EC payment you need an additional module, another middleman that you have to take into account and also more effort with calibration law. On the other hand, there is Plug & Charge, which can be operated with the existing hardware in CCS and which in Type 2 already has the necessary hardware in most charging station. Here you just have to have the appropriate update checked by the calibration office.


It is also important to remember that neither Tesla, EnBW and Fastned actually offer Plug & Charge yet. Although their solutions are the same from the customer's perspective, they are technically a proprietary system. That's why they don't work with all cars on the market. Plug & Charge is a standardized protocol that is accessible to everyone, so everyone can implement it and in which everyone can have a say. It is an extension of the CCS protocol.

Another problem with EC payments is that for each charging process, €100 are blocked on the card and after the charging process you get back what you didn't need. Depending on the bank, this takes from 2 minutes to 2 weeks. Which of course isn't any help on the way to vacation with 2-3 charging processes to get to your destination.


To be honest, I don't know why we now have to push for something as backward thinking as EC card payments. It creates costs that the customer has to pay in the form of a higher electricity price and will then be removed in 5-10 years in favor of Plug & Charge.


In my opinion, the legislature should react here and talk to people from the industry instead of trying to force something through with a crowbar.


This post was originally written for my personal Twitter and Linkedin accounts. I then published it here so it won't get lost in the depths of social media. I would also like to be able to see how my statements have aged in 10 years time.

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