AG launches charging card to provide more transparency
AG Insurance, one of the leading players in the Belgian insurance market, wants to make charging infrastructure accessible to a broader public. With the Optimile Mobiflow card displaying actual prices that apply, it wants to give users a more transparent view of the different charging units.
AG previously (2020) took a stake in Optimile in a partnership with BNP Paribas Fortis and mobility club Touring. The Ghent-based start-up wants to develop a broad platform giving people access to multimodal mobility in its broadest form via a single app. This ranges from shared bikes to shared cars, public transport, parking facilities, and access to charging infrastructure for users of electric vehicles.
Access to the platform is cloud-based and works via a specific app that the user has to install beforehand. A payment method is also linked to the services in advance, and the energy used is automatically invoiced and paid for.
Users can also get a Mobiflow charging card, which they can use to activate the charging stations accessible via the platform. The technology has its merit in bringing more mobility modes under one roof, but AG is by no means the only player in this discipline.
Pay with card, view rates via app
AG also wants to offer more transparency about the price of a charge via the Mobiflow charging card, because the app displays the rates that apply at a particular charging station. Once charging has started and communication between the vehicle and the charging station has been established, the app will show how long the charging will take and what the price will be.
In practice, this time indication often differs from reality because the charging capacity can fluctuate depending on whether there are more or fewer other vehicles in the area (or on the same charging island).
Still no charging stations with display
In contrast to traditional fossil fuels, there is no maximum price for electricity. Charging stations are rarely equipped with a (Bancontact) payment terminal so that you can pay for your charge with a normal bank card.
Furthermore, charging stations rarely display the price per kWh (by analogy with the compulsory liter price for fuel at a classic gas station). A simple but connected read-out would eliminate the complexity of electricity prices in one fell swoop.
The latter also applies to the digital energy meter at home, which does nothing to fulfill the promised simplification for the consumer.
Payment via Bancontact is possible
Technopolis already offers a system for paying for a charging session by bank card. It is not very transparent because you pay in advance, just as you would at a ticket machine at a gas station.
On the Technolopolis car charger, you choose in advance how long you want to charge and how many kilometers you need to top up. You don’t get to see a concrete price per kWh, only a mention of €/km, but that figure is irrelevant because you would need to know the correct consumption of the car for that.