Share&Charge launches its mobile app, on-boards over 1,000 charging stations on the blockchain

We mentioned Share&Charge on our blog before and we’re proud to announce the official release of their app following a 5 day ‘soft launch’, effectively on-boarding over a thousand of charging stations on the public Ethereum blockchain.

P2P EV charging becomes a reality in Germany

Share&Charge is a project by innogy Innovation Hub and Slock.it enabling private individuals to rent their home charging station in a peer to peer fashion, allowing for:

  • Charging stations owners to recoup the cost of their investment over time
  • Electric vehicle drivers to gain access to considerably more charging points in their immediate geographical area
  • Smaller utilities and SMEs to gain access to an affordable and reliable payment solution

The app has been available since the 28th of April on both the iOS app store and Google Play.

Note that for the time being, the charging stations are located exclusively in Germany.

A boon to the clean energy market

Today, approximately 1,070 stations are registered with Share&Charge. Some have been added by connecting to the backend of the Share&Charge solution, others are operated by smaller utilities or 3rd party providers. The number of privately owned station is comparatively small as the application went online last week but it’s also the most interesting market segment.

If only 15% of owners of private charging stations made them available via Share&Charge, the existing German charging infrastructure could be doubled

Indeed, as of January 2017, there were only 6,181 public charging stations (Source: statista) but at the same time, a whopping 92% of the 45,150 EV (electric vehicles) owners held a charging station at home (source: dlr.de).

This means that if only 15% of owners of private charging stations made them available via Share&Charge, the existing German charging infrastructure could be doubled, without having to build a single additional charging station!

The long road ahead.

It’s important to highlight that this is just the first step. There are many technical and regulatory challenges ahead of us in order to achieve a genuinely decentralized p2p economy for charging vehicles.

Share&Charge and Slock.it are working hard in surfacing the blockchain aspects of the application for our more technical users. For example, we hope to eventually be able to load separately generated private keys within the apps.

Share&Charge and Slock.it would also like to experiment more with hardware blockchain nodes embedded directly in the charging poles, the same way we did in Kirchberg. This will allow us blockchain-driven access control to be done at the charging station level. Currently, this is done in-app, while the accounting is done on-chain.

A hardware Ethereum node embedded in a charging station, as deployed at Kirchberg Electro-blitz

Updatable Smart Contracts

The Share&Charge app is going live but the underlying smart contract code will continue being worked on as technology evolves. These contracts are 100% updatable, allowing Share&Charge to add new features as time goes by but also to quickly react to emergency situations should they occur. This was made possible through a clean separation of data and logic. To read more on the technical aspect of the project, please refer to “Share&Charge Smart Contracts: the Technical Angle”, an article by Simon Jentzsch, our CTO.

We hope that in the future, once the smart contract system is battle-proven and bug free, Share&Charge will be able to remove the update function, creating a truly decentralized market for electric vehicle charging. In the meantime, there is an exciting Bug Bounty coming up, and the smart contract will continue to stay under continuous review. For this reason, the feedback from the crypto-community is immensely valuable — do not hesitate to contact the team via twitter.

A hidden gem: the Euro token

Transactions are handled in ‘crypto-euros’ backed 1:1 with real euros

Finally, and amongst the many innovations found in Share&Charge, we’re particularly proud of having deployed a ‘crypto-euro’ that’s backed 1:1 with real Euros held in escrow to facilitate transactions.

At the moment, this token cannot be traded and is reserved for use exclusively within the Share&Charge project, however, an e-money license being sought by the payment provider xtech of the project could see its use extended to it to other fields.

We look forward to your feedback on the project, especially if you’re lucky enough to be in Germany and own a charging station!

We’ll continue providing updates on the project via our blog and twitter.

About the Author

Stephan Tual is the Founder and COO of Slock.it.

Previously CCO for the Ethereum project, Stephan has three startups under his belt and brings 20 years of enterprise IT experience to the Slock .it project. Before discovering the Blockchain, Stephan held CTO positions at leading data analytics companies in London with clients including VISA Europe and BP.

His current focus is on the intersection of blockchain technology and embedded hardware, where autonomous agents can transact as part of an optimal “Economy of Things”.

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Twitter: @stephantual
Contact:
stephan@slock.it

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Epigenomics, Blockchain, Smart Contracts

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Stephan Tual

Stephan Tual

Stephan Tual, former CCO Ethereum, passionate Communicator and recognized Innovator with nearly 30 years of IT expertise.

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