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Ionity chargers go cardless with Tesla-style ‘Plug & Charge’

Motoring Electric logo Motoring Electric 13/10/2021 Richard Aucock
Audi Ionity © Provided by Motoring Electric Audi Ionity

Ionity will become the first open electric car charging network in Europe to offer ‘Plug & Charge’ at every charging station.

Allowing EV drivers to do away with access cards, the new Plug & Charge tech works exactly as it says: simply plug in the cable and charging commences automatically.

It means Ionity users benefit from the convenience Tesla owners have enjoyed for years – across all makes and models of electric car.

Vehicles are automatically identified at charging stations, meaning payment happens in the background, without the need for apps, RFID cards or credit cards.

Charging contracts are stored by the car and authorised before charging starts. Billing is also automated via the car’s infotainment system – and charging won’t begin until it is approved.

However, only cars with the necessary ‘Plug & Charge’ functionality, in accordance with ISO 15118, will be able to use the new tech.

This includes the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Porsche Taycan and Mercedes-Benz EQS. “More and more manufacturers are equipping their cars with the Plug & Charge function,” says Ionity.

Plug & Charge: how it works

Mercedes-Benz Ionity © Provided by Motoring Electric Mercedes-Benz Ionity

Getting the new tech to a roll-out-ready state has not been straightforward.

“It was necessary to develop Plug & Charge as an entire ecosystem,” said Dr Susanne Koblitz, head of charging technology at Ionity.

“Together with relevant players in the industry, we implemented a standardised 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.

“In order to guarantee the functionality of Plug & Charge in accordance with the ISO 15118 standard, automotive and charging station manufacturers, as well as the various partners in the field of e-roaming, have all agreed on a uniform processes and interface that provides a secure certificate-based authentication process.”

Testing began back in 2018 and Ionity has been trialling the tech at several sites in Germany since the start of 2020. It is now ready to introduce it across the entire Ionity network.

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