IOTA Charging Station

In this project we have created a working Proof of Concept of an EV charging station working solely on IOTA. This so called IOTA Charging Station is able to exchange data and value transactions peer to peer and autonomously. The technique is safe, reliable, fast and costs near to nothing. There is no card or subscription needed. Exactly what we need to live in tomorrow’s Smart Charging world!

ElaadNL researches emerging technologies that can be helpful in the development of Smart Charging and for the electric mobility infrastructure in its entirety. In line with this, we investigated the use of Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT), such as  Blockchain and Tangle. We have mapped what the different techniques are capable of, what the possibilities and impossibilities are and what benefit they can offer to charging infrastructure and Smart Charging.

To explore these possibilities we have created an IOTA charging station prototype with use of DLT: in this case IOTA and the underlying technique Tangle.  The prototype makes  full use of IOTA for communication with the end user, for saving meter values and for the final payment by the user. This is a radically different design and architecture than the current system, which requires the protocol OCPP and a back office (and many more entities involved). The IOTA charging station runs completely independently and autonomously, receives payments and communicates with the end user.

In tomorrow’s world we will all drive electric cars. Next to that, we will use solar panels and wind mills to generate are own renewable energy. With Smart Charging we will make sure we use one hundred percent of what we generate. This means that all kinds of devices have to start communicating with each other. Data and value transactions need to be exchanged and payments for services need to be payed or received. These transactions will increase exponentially in the future.

The old approach of registering every single electricity exchange centrally and pay through the bank afterwards is not appropriate for such micro transactions. That is why it is important to investigate new technologies, that can simplify this process. Cryptocurrencies and the underlying Distributed Ledger Technology provide a possible solution. The technique is secure, transparent and peer to peer. It supports the exchange of both data and value transactions. The best known DLT- application is the Bitcoin, but because of limitations in its technology, it is not suitable. A better alternative is IOTA, that makes use of the new technology Tangle. This is ideal for micro transactions. It is fast and costs close to nothing because the users validate all transactions themselves. It is an ideal decentralized approach.

We presented a working Proof of Concept of an EV Charging Station working solely on IOTA. Where you can use IOTA to pay and charge. There is no need for a card or subscription. When connecting cars, wind mills and solar panels to the network all these devices will be able to sort out the transactions and related payments themselves. It is easy, safe and reliable. In this article you can read more about how we created the prototype.

Also see our video on the IOTA Charging Station, how it works, what it does and what it can mean for the future of smart charging.

In 2017 the IOTA Charging Station prototype was created. Because of its success and the learning experience of the project, we will follow up on this project. The IOTA Charging Station 2.0 will communicate fully autonomously with the car and the energy bill will be dealt with completely autonomously between the car and the charging station. The user therefore only needs to plug in the cable and in the background the complete communication and settlement will take place via IOTA. We will create the IOTA Charging Station 2.0 in 2018.

Partners in this project are Enexis and the Dutch Grid operators, united in ElaadNL.

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