A subsidiary of RWE, one of Germany’s biggest energy and gas provider with 30 million customers and billions of revenue, has launched 100s of electronic vehicles (EV) charging stations all over Germany, connected to ethereum’s public blockchain.
Carsten Stöcker, Senior Manager at Innogy Innovation Hub – a subsidiary of RWE created last year by splitting the renewable, network and retail businesses of RWE into a separate entity – publicly stated:
“Tomorrow 100s of EV Charging Assets all over Germany Blockchainified. E2E Product using asset-backed Crypto-EURO for payments,” before adding “our EV Charging assets will be on public ethereum blockchain and further assets across EU connected soon.”
The project has been in development for more than a year with apparent plans for the entire process to be automated if electronic cars gain blockchain capabilities. As we reported back in February 2016:
“Describing the vision of a new enthralling future, RWE’s representative detailed how blockcharge would work. By using a computer chip in the charging station, a smartphone app to communicate with the interface, and a blockchain to manage and record all of the payment and charging data, a fully automated, worldwide authentication, charging and billing solution with no middleman is created.”
The app they’re using is called Share&Charge. Explaining the process, the website says that you firstly need to register your car and then transfer fiat to the wallet. Afterwards, you just find and choose a charging station with the costs “transferred from you Share&Charge wallet to the owner of the charging station.” To finalize the process, a receipt is automatically sent via e-mail.
On the backend, ethereum’s blockchain is used to transfer value and for record keeping. Explaining why he is using a blockchain at all, Stöcker says because the “future of business will be fuelled by the #MachineEconomy … Machines – such as autonomous cars.”
The idea here is for EV cars themselves to be blockchenized and through smart contracts to automatically pay the charging station thus making the process quicker and more efficient. But, at this stage, that may be some time off because there have been no reports of electric cars piloting blockchain technology as far as we are aware.
Nonetheless, it seems that the basic infrastructure is being set up for machines to autonomously transfer value without our intervention, bringing to life the internet of things.