On Wednesday the 18th of April ElaadNL released the first charging station in the world where charging and paying can be done with IOTA, in a machine 2 machine way. The charger is part of the new ElaadNL test site. The test site is located in business park Arnhems Buiten (former KEMA site) and contains all types of charging stations that are used in the public area in the Netherlands. This includes a fast charger, a charging island, a battery, two charging lanterns and the IOTA charger.
The IOTA Tangle is an innovative type of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) specifically designed for the Internet of Things (IoT) environment. It is an open-source protocol facilitating novel Machine-to-Machine (M2M) interactions, including secure data transfer, fee-less real-time micropayments.
No back office and no communication protocol is required to operate the charging station: the transactions are exchanged directly without the use of a charge card or subscription. The IOTA charging station operates completely autonomously and takes care of communication and payment with the end ‘user’. The meter values are stored every 15 minutes in the Tangle, which ensures reliable and irrefutable administration.
This technology might be a perfect fit in the future connected and fully digitalized world. The exploration of this technology in the e-mobility domain could also provide insight for other (connected) sectors like the energy sector.
The charger is equipped with hardware to setup a TCP/IP connection with a car, after which the payments and data exchange can happen fully autonomously and machine 2 machine. It uses the charging cable and special hardware, which is also used for the newly developed communication in e-Mobility ISO 15118, between car and charger to setup this connection.
The IOTA charger will be available to the public for charging. If cars that want to charge are not equipped with the required hard- and software, they can still simply charge their car by sending IOTA tokens directly to the charger using the normal IOTA wallet.
‘One big leap forward’
Onoph Caron, managing director of ElaadNL about the IOTA charging station: ‘This charger shows the ability of using real machine to machine communications and micropayments, with the use of IOTA as a secure layer for these payments and data. ElaadNL researches all kinds of innovative and smart technologies with regard to charging electric cars. DLT-technology might become a widespread thing in the near future. Now we can explore and research its possibilities on our testing ground in Arnhem.’
Alisa Maas, Head of Mobility, at the IOTA Foundation’: ‘IOTA is thrilled to see ElaadNL take their IOTA smart charging station development to the next level. This solution demystifies IOTA’s potential to become the backbone for the Machine Economy. Thanks to ElaadNL’s cutting edge innovation, seamless e-mobility is taking one big leap forward and we look forward to sharing this achievement with the rest of our growing ecosystem, at the crossroads of mobility, energy and smart cities sectors.’
The mini Tesla (which a kid can actually drive!) shown in the pictures is equipped with extra hardware to support the machine 2 machine transactions, and it really charges if you connect it! Another the cool thing is, since we use the already used and developed hardware that supports the ISO 15118 standard, the integration of what we built is quite easy. It requires some software changes in the car, but if the Charge Station is capable of doing this real machine 2 machine communication, payments via IOTA is a no-brainer.
When the charger was deployed and we did the first tests, I was amazed about how easy it actually is if ‘plug & charge’ works like it should. Right now it’s kind of a hassle to connect your car, swipe a RFID card (which you get by signing a contract with a service provider, which in returns has to have a contract with the charge point operator you’re using the charge station of… and in the end they have to settle the transaction and I’ll get the bill of all sessions combined, each month).
I was like: “I want this to become the normal way of charging, just plug in the cable and the magic happens!”
I’m really looking forward to see how we can extend this proof of concept. My dream would be to build it into the electric vehicle I have, that would be awesome.
A more extensive post about all the technical aspects will come soon™!