Foto: Jenny Ueberberg, Unsplashed

E-car: Card payment as an additional payment option at e-charging stations

To facilitate spontaneous ad-hoc charging on the move, the municipal utility cooperation Thüga has teamed up with SMART/LAB, a specialist in e-charging billing, and Mastercard to develop an innovative and consumer-friendly solution for card payments at e-charging stations. With the SMART/LAB solution, charging station operators can quickly and easily add a hybrid payment terminal to their existing charging station infrastructure as well as to new ones to be set up, and use it immediately. The terminal’s integrated open-loop technology enables e-charging station operators to accept all common cashless payment and authorization methods while meeting the requirements of the new European Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR).

This is because public fast charging stations of 50 kW or more must offer at least one contactless payment method with debit or credit card from July 01, 2024. By accepting debit and credit cards as a minimum standard, the regulation not only ensures uniform payment modalities, but also guarantees an openly accessible payment system. The new hybrid payment terminal can be quickly and easily integrated into the existing infrastructure of the various providers using the specially developed payment gateway in a plug & play process and also accepts closed payment systems, such as the charging cards of municipal utilities or other electromobility providers (EMPs). Using NFC technology, drivers of electric vehicles can make secure and convenient contactless payments with their debit or credit card from Mastercard, for example. The payment process also works if the cards are stored in digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, as well as with charging and fleet cards from established providers.

In the joint cooperation, SMART/LAB handles the authorization and billing of charging processes via its leading backend system in Germany and ensures compliance with German calibration law. “As a leading provider in the field of e-mobility, we are creating a solution that ensures the highest possible flexibility for all users,” says Mark Steffen Walcher, CEO of SMART/LAB. “The charging cards of our municipal utilities and our ladebusiness customers will continue to work as usual – the payment options will simply be expanded.” Electromobility can only become established if a nationwide supply of charging options is guaranteed that is geared to the needs of e-car drivers. Uniform standards and secure, open payment systems are important for promoting consumer acceptance and strengthening sustainable e-mobility. The introduction of the hybrid terminal not only offers greater convenience, but also makes a significant contribution to accessibility and thus to a broad user base.

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