Brisbane firm's 'Plug and Charge' solution

Tritium takes the pain out of EV charging

Electric vehicle drivers may never again have to reach for their wallets, under a bold plan released by Brisbane electric vehicle charging manufacturer Tritium.

Murarrie-based Tritium is a global leader in the design and manufacture of high-voltage electric vehicle (EV) DC chargers and recently unveiled the world’s first-to-market availability of a Plug and Charge solution, which ensures its high-end chargers can automatically charge a car’s battery and the driver’s payment account, without the need for a card swipe.

In a white paper released this week, the company forecast a near future where EVs become payment platforms in themselves, capable of paying for various services in much the same way the smartphone does today.

Tritium’s Head of Market Strategy and paper author Nathan Dunlop said the technology that enables Tritium’s Plug and Charge solution – on the charger side and soon on the vehicle side – will lead to EVs being able to pay for everything from vehicle and home energy usage, and even enable payment for things like car washes and groceries.
 
“As it is secure and utilises advanced cryptographic techniques, we believe the vehicle will follow a similar technology roadmap to the smartphone which is no longer just a phone, but a tap-and-go payment method and an essential device beyond its ability to simply make calls,” he said.
 
“The technology behind Plug and Charge will lead to automakers, charge point operators and utilities innovating new offerings and redefining how the EV is used – it won’t be seen simply as a method from getting from A to B, but a way to interact with and/or pay for C.”  

A statement from Tritium said Plug and Charge simplified the charging experience for customers by streamlining and simplifying their interactions with the charging equipment. 

This reduces the need for a driver to carry a physical identifier such as a card or RFID tag and will improve the security of driver information.

Mr Dunlop said there were three prominent examples of EV innovation which would soon stem from the enablement of the Plug and Charge standard.

Tritium charger authorisation graphic
 
“First, you’ll see the charging interaction move into an in-vehicle experience, with the ability to set charge speeds and cost limit preferences all from the comfort of the vehicle,” he said.
 
“Secondly, we see a ‘vehicle as a service’ bundles emerging, in which charging fees, and ongoing vehicle loan finance being bundled into a convenient payment plan.

“A further extension would be to package all of the customer’s energy use into one bill, including their vehicle and home energy usage.
 
“Finally, yet perhaps most interestingly, is the idea of the vehicle as a credit card payment device, a ‘tap and go’ on wheels.

“If the vehicle itself is a validated payment mechanism the vehicle effectively becomes a rolling payment medium via the stored cryptographic information in the vehicle.
 
“As the ecosystem around the vehicle evolves, the use cases of the vehicle as a payment medium extend far further than solely charging services.

“For example, a drive-through restaurant payment may become touch-free, with limited human interaction.
 
“Ordering could be managed through in-vehicle applications, or voice commands.

“Identification, authentication, and payment can then be centralised into a monthly vehicle spend.”

RACQ EV charging station.
 
Dunlop said drivers would soon look to see these offerings from the EV ecosystem of providers as standard, in much the same way consumers expected a wide array of applications, near-field communications technologies and, soon, 5G, in their smartphones.
 
“These stakeholders should want to consider how the Plug and Charge platform is to be built into their near and long-term strategies when it comes to electric vehicle charging, as this brings them closer to their customers,” he said.

 “It comes down to the needs of the driver and what they’ll ultimately want and what they’ll want once it’s available is speed, ease and convenience.”

Founded in 2001 by three former electrical engineering students who met at the University of Queensland (UQ), Tritium has established itself as a global leader in the design, development and manufacture of high-voltage DC fast chargers for EVs. 

Since launching its first DC fast charger in 2014, the company has ridden the gathering EV wave, and estimates it has since sold 4500 charging stations and provided 600,000-plus charging sessions in more than 33 countries. 

With a workforce in excess of 300 spread across sites in Brisbane, Los Angeles and Amsterdam, the company holds about 50% of the DC charging market in Norway and between 15-20% of the wider western global market for DC fast chargers.