When incentives and development funds for DERs in developing countries are lacking, especially in countries where the private sector is not allowed to supply electricity to the utility grid, using blockchain for charging plug-in electric vehicles might be an alternative. Widespread use of electric vehicles (EV) becomes more feasible when drivers can universally access charging stations.
A concern is how to simplify billing at charging stations, especially ones located in public spaces. Blockchain can be used to build a simple secure billing model for electric vehicle battery charging and thus help removing this barrier. EV drivers could park their vehicle at any blockchain compatible charging station while the vehicle autonomously logs on to a charging station and recharges automatically. Once the vehicle leaves the parking space, the charging station automatically bills the driver for the electricity received using blockchain technology. Since EVs are potential energy storage systems, the excess energy stored in their batteries can be fed back to the network and the owner earning money. The DAV Foundation’s blockchain-based application for EVs is an example of this application which creates possibilities for vehicle owners, mobility services, riders and shippers. DAV Foundation’s token enables exchange of energy between the grid and EVs . The platform records transactions and provides compensation using DAV tokens.
BlockCharge is another newly established blockchain application for EV battery charging. It uses the Ethereum blockchain to facilitate EV charging. This project was launched by German utility Innogy, assisted by a company named Slock.it. The concept of BlockCharge is based on the smart plug, which can be used as a normal electrical outlet plug but is linked with an identification code. Users install an app on their smartphones to authorize the EV charging process. It connects to Ethereum blockchain which negotiates the price, records the charging data, and manages the payment process. BlockCharge uses a business model based on the one-time purchase of the Smart Plug and a transaction fee for the charging process. BlockCharge is aiming for a worldwide authentication, charging and billing system with no intermediary. Once induction charging for electric vehicles becomes more widely adopted, applications like BlockCharge will manage the entire vehicle charging process.
The application of blockchain technology for charging EVs represents a change in how private businesses interface with their customers. This model is ideal for small businesses, shopping malls, office buildings, and car parks who offer customers renewable energy charging for their plug-in electric vehicles.