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One Card Fits All Electric Charging Stations

With the advent of new technologies come new frontiers. With these new frontiers chaos inevitably happens. Do we need order yet, or should we let the industry go ahead?


Driving an electric car, EV these days means carrying a few charging cards in your wallet. If it’s not Coulomb Technologies, then you need at least ECOtality’s. If you have neither, you might get stuck somewhere. In order to be well prepared, an electric car driver needs two things. A smart phone with electric charging apps and a few electric charge stations cards in order to access recharging on the go. The problem is that this means carrying many cards in the long run. So what can be done to ease the situation?

One Card Rules Them All. Todd Woody at Forbes asked an interesting question when he questioned the practicality of carrying so many cards in order to access different charging stations in the city of San Francisco. Can we get by with only one card or do we need many? Furthermore, is there a way to only have master card? And lastly, how does this help the electric car industry?

To the last question, having a universal charging card certainly would help a faster mass adoption of electric cars. Currently, most drivers either have a Coulomb Technologies or an ECOtality card.

PayPal? While GE sees the future with PayPal, the company announced it is teaming up with PayPal for its charging WattStations. But doesn’t that just give us yet another system? It does and it still doesn’t answer the real problem, what can we do to make charging stations easily accessible for all.

iPhones, QR codes And Good Old Credit Card. At this stage, the answer seems brutally painful to most. How about using our credit and debit cards? After all, parking meters are starting to adopt this “revolutionary” idea of using our cards to pay for public places. Yet, the industry being what it is loves to use technology. So let’s spice it up a bit. How about we use those QR codes on our smartphones, link our devices to our bank accounts and voila. Instant payment is reinvented.

Another promising system some utilities are working on is to have drivers recognized as they charge and get billed from the utility, regardless of location. This idea is being tested currently in San Diego with some success.

In the end, it seems the best solutions are already here. The new charging stations industry is playing the wait and see game to figure who will be the last players. Let’s not deceive ourselves here and reinvent the wheel, almost everyone carries credit and debit cards, which would suit charging stations and electric cars just fine.