ABB E-Mobility, part of the Swiss/Swedish ABB Group, has acquired the Swedish start-up Vourity. The latter’s cloud-based technology is designed to simplify payment at charging stations for electric cars with various payment options. ABB is also securing essential technical expertise with the take-over.
The acquisition of Vourity enables ABB to integrate the payment terminal with cloud-based technology into its charging stations. It is unclear whether it is possible to retrofit existing charging stations. However, the terminal can be a central ‘payment station’ for several charging stations at one location.
The charging process can be billed using credit cards (Visa, Mastercard), Apple Pay, Google Pay, Swish, Vipps, or RFID charging cards or tags. It is also possible to enter a PIN.
As the Swiss technology group puts it, providing user-friendly and seamless payment options for consumers is one of the most essential components in accelerating the introduction of electric vehicles.
“What impressed us most about Vourity’s technology is just how simple and easy it is to use, and that’s what we aspire to in our systems, so it’s a perfect strategic fit for ABB E-mobility,” said Daniel Alarcon-Rubio, Chief Digital Officer at ABB E-mobility.
“The addition of both the people and the technology from Vourity will strongly enhance and accelerate the development of our own systems and enable us to serve our customers better,” he added.
“Our aim with Vourity has always been to deliver a seamless customer experience at the point of payment. As we evolve from the start-up phase into full commercialization, we are confident that as part of ABB E-mobility, we will be able to ramp up our ability to deliver that experience at scale while continuing to develop and improve our technology,” said Hans Nottehed, co-founder and CEO of Vourity.
With the acquisition of Vourity, ABB wants to play its part and expand its customer offering. The company even refers to the take-over as a “key element” of its technology portfolio.
The EU’s Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) will likely play a significant role. The regulation contains binding requirements regarding the distance between charging parks and their charging capacity and payment modalities.
According to the regulation, “users of alternative fuel vehicles will have to be able to pay easily at recharging points”, easily meaning payment cards and contactless payments that do not require a subscription.
Last month, the British government made public charging easier with new regulations. Accordingly, all new public charging points with at least eight kW of power must enable contactless payment. Companies must also allow their customers to pay via a third-party provider.
In Germany, publicly accessible charging points that operate from July next year must have a credit card terminal. Meanwhile, several car manufacturers are developing automatic payments.
When the car is coupled to a charging point, it is immediately recognized via its chassis number, and the payment will follow automatically. Of course, in the first stage, this will only work when the manufacturer has its own dedicated network or has an agreement with a provider.
Rolling it out over the entire charging infrastructure will surely take some time, given today’s chaotic state of the whole charging scene. Simplifying payment is in any way a significant contribution to the energy transition.