IONITY’s ‘Plug & Charge’ feature automatically identifies EVs and authorizes charging

IONITY’s ‘Plug & Charge’ feature automatically identifies EVs and authorizes charging

High-power charging station network operator IONITY has announced that its charging stations are the first in Europe to offer the “Plug & Charge” feature in line with ISO 15118 standard. The IONITY network is unique as it allows electric vehicles (EVs) with enabled Plug & Charge feature to get their battery packs replenished simply by plugging-in.

The network system automatically performs tasks like identification, authorization and even billing. In simple words, the innovative feature doesn’t require RFID cards or mobile EV charging apps.

At the charging station, the Plug & Charge feature automatically identifies the EV and authorizes it for charging as soon as the charging cable is inserted in the vehicle. Charging contracts are read straight from the vehicle and protected by digital certificates. The process of charging starts only after successful identification and authentication. All essential information gets stored in the EV’s on-board system, which paves way for automated billing. The automated charging and billing promise maximum convenience for EV drivers; and payments at the charging stations become a thing of the past.

Dr. Susanne Koblitz, the chief of IONITY Charging Technology, explained, “Together with relevant players in the industry, we implemented a standardized system that enables all partners to authenticate each other, allowing the electric vehicle and the charging station to communicate while ensuring confidentiality, data integrity and authenticity.”

Speaking on the topic, Dr. Koblitz added that developing a feature like Plug & Charge as an entire ecosystem was necessary as getting the communication chains for EVs up and running was one of the biggest challenges.

IONITY first conducted tests on communication between the charging station and EVs near the end of 2018. In the first quarter of last year, the network operator set the innovative feature at numerous charging stations, mainly in Germany. The company also allowed its partners to conduct their own tests of the feature. The feature was later gradually rolled out across the network to make it available to the company’s customers.

Earlier this month, IONITY announced the launch of a new tariff, called Ionity Passport. The new tariff, which joined the network’s previous one-off payment system called Ionity Direct, promises a less expensive charging option for those who don't have any subscription by other Mobility Service Providers (MSP).

IONITY is a joint venture (JV) among BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Co., and Volkswagen Group. In November 2020, Hyundai also became a member of the privately-funded JV as its fifth shareholder. As of October 2021, it had 370 fast charging stations, with a total of 1,487 individual chargers across Europe.