Tritium Chargers Getting Simpler: No Card-Tap Needed

Brisbane-based charger manufacturer Tritium is taking the tap-to-pay step out of electric vehicle charging, with a Plug and Charge feature called Autocharge.

Autocharge will let EV charging operators recognise the car automatically and start a charging session without the owner needing to either tap or insert a payment card (providing a similar experience to a Tesla Supercharger where you simply plug in and walk away).

It’s been implemented in the latest release of the software behind its RTM 75kW and PKM 150kW chargers.

As well as being simpler for users, there are benefits for operators, Tritium said in its media release: for busy sites, it removes a step from the charging process, and site rollout is simpler because Autocharge removes the need for a credit card reader.

The company says Autocharge offers a new approach to vehicle identification that offers the same security as RFID cards.

Partner Lynkwell is the first adopter of Autocharge, and has activated the technology on RTM chargers at several fleet company sites.

The technology Autocharge supports, Plug and Charge, implements the ISO 15118 communications protocol, which handles the authentication, authorisation and billing for EV charging via the charging cable, without needing a physical RFID card or authentication via a smartphone app.

As Tritium explains in this 2020 white paper (pdf), Plug and Charge lets the customer “plug in the car, receive a charge, and drive away knowing that payment has been effortlessly managed via a set of digital certificates that contain pre-approved payment configurations.”

Lynkwell’s VP of engineering Nick Bordeau said:

“Autocharge allows drivers of personal, commercial, or fleet vehicles to simply plug in and walk away. Benefits like increased ease and efficiency that also leverage telematics compound the value over large fleets and help drive large scale EV adoption.”

About Richard Chirgwin

Joining the SolarQuotes blog team in 2019, Richard is a journalist with more than 30 years of experience covering a wide range of technology topics, including electronics, telecommunications, computing, science and solar. When not writing for us, he runs a solar-powered off-grid eco-resort in NSW’s blue mountains. Read Richard's full bio.

Comments

  1. Daniel Waffler says

    Tritium chargers (CHADeMO supply) are NOT so good in New Zealand where I now live. In Australia they worked flawlessly, yet N.Z. not so, so I am not going to sign over my credit card to companies associated with Tritium.

    Why?????

  2. George Kaplan says

    So car thieves can recharge their rides at their victims’ expense? This seems like a security risk to me.

    • Wait until you hear about tap and go credit cards…

      Also if a thief plugs in a stolen car for a 50 minute charge he’s taking quite a risk. Plenty of time to send the cops over…

      • George Kaplan says

        Thief wouldn’t have much joy trying that with me. There’s a reason cash is king. Of course if banks are 100% reliable, internet providers 100% reliable, cell providers 100% reliable, electricity providers 100% reliable (am I forgetting anyone else?) then cash alternatives are viable. But if any or all of these single points of failure are unreliable, or you just don’t like Big Brother, well cash is essential.

      • Oh how we hope that would be the case.

        In the late 1990s, my car was stolen in Sydney and proceeded to be issued with 14 parking tickets in the Sydney CBD (including Macquarie St).

        Despite lodging a report with the police within hours of it being stolen – there was no linkage between stolen vehicles and infringement notices. AFAIK there is still no linkage, and for some reason the two companies who own most car insurance companies have no interest in such a link happening, neither does the NRMA (all of which I approached at senior levels).

        A very simple matter to load an updated list of stolen vehicles once a week, or even daily – even back in the pre-internet days using existing State Govt systems.

        So good luck on integrating a non-Govt EV charge operator into State Govt systems.

        BTW: I had to produce a separate copy of the police report for each infringement notice. They would not accept one copy for all the infringements.

    • George
      If they did and were stupid enough to use a public charger which identifies exactly where they are stuck for the next 20-30 minutes….

      I can just look at my car’s phone app to see its location.

  3. If it works as advertised and its secure, its a great leap forward. I’m so sick of hassling with multiple apps/RFID cards, some of which are a PITA to use even if they’re working. I’m talking tp you NRMA!
    I actively try and avoid charging at public chargers with non EV owning passengers, as I hate to think I’d be turning them off EV ownership when they see the hassle involved.

    • It’s good to see an EV owner telling the truth about how much hassle public charging can be .

      • Anthony Bennett says

        Hi AJ,

        I’m not sure if you remember how frustrating it was standing in line at the petrol station when someone’s credit card was declined for want of solid communications or the correct PIN. Prior to that the standard “bankcard” transaction involved a carbon copy paper slip to take an impression of your card… which is arguably the stage we are at now with EV charging. I’ve sworn at a badly designed app before but things are looking up.

  4. Autocharge and Plug and Charge (ISO15118) are two different methods of authenticating a car.
    Autocharge uses the cars network MAC address and is as secure as a RFID card.

    Plug and Charge uses certificates, that are signed and can be verified by the billing system.

  5. Sounds like a step forward to me!
    There has been a bit of chat on that ever so reliable Twitter (joke) by the EXPERTS (joke), that Tritium is in trouble. As the substance of the tweets seems more about political bashing, I suspect it is BS. Perhaps someone can provide some a reliable comment?

    • I’m not sure of all the details, but the Stock Market Authority in the USA put their stock on hold and requested them to supply good reasons for not removing them from the stock market.

  6. Ian Thompson says

    In a recent comparison drive test between otherwise identical high-end vehicles – one petrol ICE, the other a long-range BEV – 900km from Melbourne to Sydney – the testers commented that numerous charge stations were found out-of-service – many because the OPTUS network was down…

    Fuel costs were lower for the ICE by about $18 as I recall – probably because the BEV supported faster charging, incurring premium costs but reducing charging time. Even so, the BEV charging was slower than the ICE, by about 2 hours.

    The conclusion? Presently BEVs work better for city driving.

    • That’s not really the correct conclusion. The promoters wanted to use identical cars with different powertrains, so they chose a couple of BMW’s. A couple of Hyundai Kona’s would have been a better choice IMO.
      The trouble with doing that is that the cars selected are optimised for ICE running gear rather than EV running gear. ie the EV is just an ICE vehicle with the running gear swapped over. All the serious manufacturers are developing EV’s from the ground up eg Tesla (obviously), Hyundai/Kia, some of the Chinese manufacturers, so they are much more efficient. I noted that the average energy use of the car in question was 20KwH/100km, which is 15-20% more than a Tesla or Hyundai Ioniq5 would achieve

  7. And lets not mention tritium leaving Australia for good

  8. John Heywood says

    What happens if the network is down? Is user data downloaded to each station such that it can operate autonomously?

    Free charging during network outages would be a simple safeguard.

  9. Michael Paine says

    I have been doing some planning for a trip from Sydney to the Snowy Mountains in a BYD Dolphin.

    I was planning to use some NRMA fast chargers, or at least have them as reserves. However when I looked up the details for one site (Mittagong RSL) there was a note that the Freewire chargers are not currently compatible with BYD vehicles.

    I contacted the NRMA directly and have just been advised: “The Freewire and NRMA EV chargers are not currently compatible with BYD vehicles. ” No mention of how this major issue is being addressed but it does seem to suggest that all NRMA chargers have this problem.

    I have successfully charged the Dolphin with an Evie Tritium fast charger so I have some options there. But for the NRMA network to be unavailable is staggering.

  10. I’m not long back from Brisbane/Canberra/Return and used many NRMA 50kVa chargers on my Atto 3. No issues other than the odd one out of action, so I’m not sure what this issue is all about.

    • Michael Paine says

      Good to know – thank you. It might be that the Freewire chargers are quite old and are no longer used in newer installations. I specifically asked whether the BYD problem applied to other chargers but got a vague reply.
      I am trying to contact an NRMA technical person to clarify things.

      • i have never met a “Freewire”. Good luck with getting tech advice lol. I would tootle to the nearest 50kW NRMA charger (Tritium I think) and give it a go 🙂

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