Blockchain: Solution for the decentralised mobility market

An increasingly decentralised mobility market requires a decentralised transaction technology. Blockchain is being talked about as a promising solution. An Essen-based start-up is already testing the technology and in practical tests is showing its potential for the future of mobility.





The framework programme of the EVS30 includes so-called TecTours, which will give the conference participants the opportunity to look at various companies and research institutes from the field of electromobility. The participants in the TecTours can thus expect real highlights from Baden-Württemberg on the theme of automated and electric driving. The TecTours will focus on Blockchain technology, among other things. For example, on Thursday 12 October, a group of approximately 40 people will first visit IBM and then travel to Karlsruhe to the Forschungsinstitut für Informatik (Research Institute for Computer Sciences) and the KIT. Information on registering for the TecTours can be found here:

Energy producers, payment offerers, network and charging station operators: The mobility market of the future will be decentralised. The complexity of transactions between the individual participants will thus increase. Furthermore, it is increasingly difficult to build up mutual trust. Blockchain can provide a remedy here. For this decentralised transaction technology offers two decisive advantages. It can process transactions directly between two business partners without an intermediary. In addition, it is based on a decentralized, hacking-proof database that everyone can trust.

"In order to further promote the theme of electromobility, three things must happen in parallel: In Germany, we must create an infrastructure for electromobility, as well as a market. At the same time, one technology must replace the various isolated solutions," says Axel Rogaischus, Manager of the Industry division at IBM. "And the technology that can function as a central platform, and thus also facilitates the lives of consumers in a decisive way, is Blockchain."

Making the charging infrastructure more easily accessible

The potential of Blockchain has already been recognised by some companies in the electromobility market. For example, the Essen-based start-up Share&Charge. The network for all kinds of charging stations is aiming to make the charging infrastructure in Germany more accessible. By means of the Share&Charge app, electromobility users can share electricity charging stations with others and pay for the charged power, whereby they can determine the rates themselves. The charging options for electric car drivers in Germany are thus increasing, and at the same time the payment process is simplified.

For Share&Charge, a charging station must be equipped with a special hardware module that ensures the connection to the platform. In Germany, this is already the case with more than 1,150 charging stations. By autumn 2017, there should be over 2,000. 

The start-up earns money by means of a transaction fee of approx. 15 per cent. Share&Charge is based on the decentralised and transparent Blockchain technology, by means of which electric car drivers and owners of charging stations can automatically settle their costs automatically and without complication. 

Great potential for the electromobility market thanks to secure payment processes

The technology makes the identification of cars and charging stations particularly secure. By means of programmed-in contracts, so-called smart contracts, the charging and payment processes are triggered automatically. "Users can upload money in the Blockchain database and pay directly by means of so-called mobility tokens. This means that the payment is effected directly between charging station and user without an intermediary," says founder Dietrich Sümmermann. "In future we want to use the transaction tool on a broader basis, because it allows dynamic pricing even between more than two parties, and thus facilitates invoicing. Blockchain therefore has enormous potential on the electromobility market."

From the Ruhr to Silicon Valley

Share&Charge is already on a course of expansion. By means of a partner network  the public and private charging infrastructure within Europe is to be networked via Blockchain. "We are just starting a pilot project in California in order to find out how our sharing principle is received there," says Sümmermann. "We are very proud that a German concept has found its way to Silicon Valley."

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