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ChargePoint Rolls Out 'Tap-and-Charge' Features for EV Stations

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【Summary】To charge an EV using the ‘tap-and-charge’ feature, people must hold their smartphone close to the station. After confirming the transaction and plugging the car into the hub, the system will automatically start charging.

Michael Cheng    Oct 05, 2017 4:10 PM PT
ChargePoint Rolls Out 'Tap-and-Charge' Features for EV Stations

Individuals who commute on a daily basis using EVs are one of the largest consumers of public charging stations. In order to make the entire experience more seamless, businesses that offer public EV charging services are upgrading their stations with wireless features

ChargePoint, a California-based startup that owns over 40,000 EV charging hubs around the US, with expansion projects in Australia, is spearheading this movement. The business recently unveiled a unique charging solution that utilizes Near-Field Communication (NFC) and the user's mobile device.

"ChargePoint is committed to getting every driver behind the wheel of an EV, and a major part of achieving that goal is making it as easy as possible for drivers to charge," explained ChargePoint CMO Colleen Jansen, in a press release.

Integration with NFC Technology

To charge an EV using the ‘tap-and-charge' feature, people must hold their smartphone close to the station. After confirming the transaction and plugging the car into the hub, the system will automatically start charging. Payment is handled behind the scenes, using previously saved financial information. The feature works with Android and Apple mobile platforms, as well as the Apple Watch. Previously, individuals had two options for initiating the charging process at ChargePoint stations.

One method required a user to pull out an RFID card that was tied with his or her customer profile, which was sent to customers after signing up with the business. This meticulous option came with several drawbacks and limitations. First, individuals were forced to carry around the card in their wallet, which competes for space with credit cards, driver's licenses and etc.

Next, from a cost perspective, ChargePoint spent large amounts of funds on the campaign, which required the startup to print, allocate and manage thousands of RFID cards. With this in mind, introducing the ‘tap-and-charge' option could help the company take a financially leaner approach to expansion.

"Tap to charge delivers on that commitment and fosters EV adoption by providing the easiest way for drivers to charge wherever they live, work, and play. The ownership experience is key to broader EV adoption, and trailblazing features like tap to charge make fueling your EV much more simple and convenient than the gas vehicle it likely replaced," said Jansen.

Expanding to New Markets

ChargePoint's commitment to serve all types of EVs (not just Tesla) has boosted its reputation in the EV industry. As mentioned earlier, the business has set its sights on expanding to global markets, specifically in Europe – where EV ownership is increasing at a rapid pace – and Australia. The startup even teased the possibility of launching an Initial Public Offering (IPO) within the next three years.

In the past few years, the startup has benefited from selling its charging stations to retail shop owners (to install in parking lots) and city planners. These EV hubs are designed to serve private EVs and local communities, as the units are carefully deployed in highly populated areas. ChargePoint is in the process of expanding its services to cater to industrial EV fleets and mass transportation sectors. 

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