Innogy, a subsidiary of Germany’s energy giant RWE created last year by splitting the renewable, network and retail businesses into a separate entity, has added blockchain capabilities to hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles (EV).
Carsten Stöcker, Senior Manager at Innogy Innovation Hub, publicly stated “100s of EV Charging Assets all over Germany Blockchainified. E2E Product using asset-backed Crypto-EURO for payments.” He further added that “EV Charging assets will be on public ethereum blockchain and further assets across EU connected soon.”
An etherean based in Germany took his electric BMW to one of these charging stations. Confirming it all works, publicly stated:
“Process was smooth and it felt like a regular, well-working service. Was exiting to know that an Ethereum transaction on the mainnet was involved in the process of delivering this service to me.
Infrastructure is getting ready for the IoT it seems. We have come a long way folks. I was always wondering when would be the first time I use an everyday service/product where Ethereum is involved under the hood.”
The project has been in development, for now, more than a year. Through wireless technology the charging station connects to an app called Share&Charge. On the surface, the app looks like any other professional service, giving prices in euros, but underneath it’s using ethereum’s public blockchain. The euros, therefore, are “crypto-euro,” which are “asset-backed.”
It’s not clear whether this would be possible with static money, like fiat euros, because the charging station can’t have a bank account. The owner presumably could, adding some complexity while at the same time missing out on the smart contract capabilities of dynamic money like eth.
Because the idea here is for, eventually, the car itself to pay the charging station. How? The exact details would probably be closely guarded, but at a high level you can blockchenize the car, give it a smart contract, connect it to wi-fi, and write some code which orders it to pay if:then, while:else etc.
We thus get rid of the human in the process, letting the car and charging station do its own thing while not bothering us which such petty matters as making payments. A service which may be very useful for self-driving cars.
Elon Musk has expressed this idea of a car becoming not just a means of transport, but also a self-running business by operating on its own as a taxi service once self-driving cars capabilities reach a respectable level.
He hasn’t said much about this space, not least because Musk is probably very busy with many things, having his eyes on slightly bigger matters, such as conquering Mars. However, they may nonetheless give it a go, and if it’s not Tesla, it most probably will be one of the car companies with some foresight to see the potential competitive edge they could gain at a relatively small upfront cost.
That means ethereum is now gaining real life uses and utility, blockchenizing machines and giving them smart contracts, in the process replacing man while increasing productivity and efficiency as well as lowering costs.
Featured image from Shutterstock.