Encryption key management boost for EV charging

Encryption key management boost for EV charging

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Tritium has launched a secure cardless EV charging system that it says is the first of its kind.

The technology, based around the ISO15118 encryption standard, enables an electric vehicle and charger to communicate seamlessly and authorise payments directly from the driver’s account without the need for a card or RFID tag. The ‘plug and charge’ capability is available immediately for charge point operators to deploy on Tritium’s PK350kW DC High Power Chargers and has been tested in Amsterdam and Germany.

Although the company is based in Australia, the technology was tested at Tritium’s innovation centre is in Amsterdam. “We placed our innovation centre strategically in Amsterdam and at the epicentre of Europe’s automotive manufacturing sector,” said James Kennedy, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Tritium. “That investment has paid off, and directly led to the rapid development of the technology. It’s a major reason why we’re first to the market with a secure and advanced charger technology once again.”

The encryption technology allows drivers to use a charger regardless of the charging network operator with the charging session automatically and securely billed.

“This firmly and irreversibly tips the convenience scales to the recharging experience over the refuelling experience,” said Kennedy. “It’s going to be as simple as how we charge our phones, but with the added benefit of charging our bank accounts at the same time.

“There is no more need for a membership card or even to swipe a bank card at a terminal; this is the first and most secure iteration available to the market and, once deployed to critical mass, will render any former payment process as archaic.”

Next: How Tritium’s encrypted EV charging works

“A third party such as Hubject provides an automated and secure data exchange enabled by ISO 15118-conforming Public Key Infrastructure and is responsible for cryptographic certifications between the vehicle and the charger, and our technology ensures we are securely storing cryptographic keys on the charger side in a way that other chargers can’t,” he said. “You’re more likely to lose a card and have someone swipe it somewhere than by someone being able to access account details via our Plug and Charge technology.”

Kennedy said Plug and Charge will also remove another barrier to EV adoption.

“Right now, EV drivers approaching an EV charger will likely have to sign up for that network’s system to access it and pay for the charging session, adding unnecessary time to the experience and siloing charger networks; even accounting for the ability to pay by credit card at some chargers this is wildly inconvenient,” he said. “With Plug and Charge, you’ll be able to plug the charger into the vehicle and it just charges, from your battery to your account.”

Electric vehicles will also need a way to secure the vehicle-side cryptographic key which will become common place with emerging models.

“The vehicles will need to have the storage technology built in, in much the same way as paying for something with your smartphone requires NFC technology,” said Kennedy. “Once that becomes the norm, as NFC has, you will see the incidents of Plug and Charge payments skyrocket. This is a game changer for EV drivers in the future, making the charging as simple and as easy as it is for Android phones to charge with a USB-C adapter, for instance,” he said.

Tritium last month signed a deal with Pod Point, one of the United Kingdom’s largest providers of EV charging systems with customers including supermarket chain Tesco. The agreement sees Tritium’s Veefil-RT 50kW DC rapid charger offered to Pod Point’s new and existing customers as part of its continuing nationwide EV charging network rollout. It also developed and manufactured the Halo DC fast charger for the Ionity network across Europe.

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