ChargePoint launches electric-car charging activated by smartphone
Oct 2, 2017   Paul Sawers/VentureBeat's GreenBeat

ChargePoint Express Plus modular DC fast-charging system for electric cars,
launched at 2017 CES

[image]  Chevrolet Bolt EV being charged outside Go Forth electric-car
showroom, Portland  / Forth

Electric-car charging network ChargePoint has announced a new feature that
allows electric vehicle (EV) owners to begin charging their car using
near-field communication (NFC) and their smartphone.

This doesn’t mean your phone itself is capable of charging your car, of
course, though that would be fantastic.

Instead, the company—which operates one of the largest EV charging networks
in the world—has lifted the lid on a “tap to charge” feature that lets
drivers initiate the charging process at 40,000 spots across North America
by simply tapping their Android, iPhone, or Apple watch at the charging

Before now, drivers could launch a charging session by tapping the RFID card
they received when they signed up to the ChargePoint network or by pressing
a button within the ChargePoint mobile app.

Using “tap to charge,” however, means that drivers no longer have to pull a
card out or open an app—it’s just “tap” and go.

Founded out of California in 2007, ChargePoint is best known in its domestic
U.S. market, but it also has a presence in Australia. The company recently
closed a $125 million funding round to push into Europe, taking its total
equity financing to nearly $300 million.

The global EV market share is still relatively modest compared to those for
petrol and diesel, but it is growing fast. Europe represents the second
biggest market for EVs globally (after China)—helped by incentives such as
tax reductions and exemptions.

Volvo recently committed to making only electric and hybrid cars from 2019,
while Uber, too, has pledged to make all UberX cars in London electric or
hybrid by 2019, though the company has bigger fish to fry in the U.K.
capital at the moment.

The new NFC charging integration only applies to the U.S. for now, but as
more public charging stations arrive in Europe—something that will be ramped
up “dramatically” in 2018, according to ChargePoint—we will likely see this
feature land in other markets.

In the U.S., fully electric car sales are reportedly up around 47 percent so
far in 2017, with Tesla’s mass-market Model 3 Sedan doing its bit to drive
EV sales. Earlier this month, Tesla revealed it was bringing its
supercharging network to city centers, in addition to highways.

It’s clear that EVs—whether hybrid or fully electric—are on an upward
trajectory, so it’s hardly surprising to see incremental improvements
rolling out to the charging infrastructure.

“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

[image]  2014 BMW i3 REx fast-charging at Chargepoint site, June 2016  / Tom

“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.”

“Tap to charge” works on NFC-enabled phones running Android 4.4 or higher,
iPhone 6 or higher, and Apple Watch.

Users of Apple iPhone need to create a ChargePoint Pass by hitting “Add Pass
to Apple Wallet” in the ChargePoint app, then position their finger on Touch
ID and tap the phone on the station to begin charging.

Apple Watch wearers, on the other hand, need to double-click the side button
and hold the watch near the contactless reader on the charging station.
[© 2017 Green Car Reports]
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