A number of companies have been coming up with highly ingenious ways of providing electric vehicles (EVs) with the power they need to run. Netherlands-based Lightyear and German specialist Sono Motors have opted for solar power re-charging, Mini Green Power, Plus de Bornes and Enogia have teamed up to provide re-charging stations based on electricity generated from vegetable waste in southern France, while a number of tech firms including Electroad, WiTricity and also Qualcomm Technologies and Vedecom, in partnership with French automobile manufacturer Renault, are working to develop cable-free charging via 'augmented' roads. Meanwhile, the traditional approach to re-charging EVs using a plug-in cable is still beset by a lack of charging infrastructure out on the roads. To help alleviate this problem in France, ChargeMap has produced a catalogue of available charging stations and offers a badge that works with a number of different power networks; while the All In Factory has launched a collaborative service based on the Book & Plug app, which enables owners of electric cars, scooters and bicycles to reserve a charging point along their route in real time. In the United States, where journey distances are often longer, a number of technology solutions have been devised. Charg Coin has come up with an app-based platform that enables EV drivers to rent a parking slot and charging time at any of a network of Charg Stations made available to motorists and pay the owners – commercial businesses or private citizens – via the blockchain. Setting up private charging stations along roads where public facilities are not available seems a good way for enterprising individuals to boost their income, while expanding the options open to EV drivers. The way it works is that the two parties enter into a 'smart contract' underpinned by the blockchain and payment is made through tokens – Charg Coin – based on Ethereum virtual currency technology. Considering that Tesla recently hiked the price for using its Supercharger network, Charg Coin might turn out to be an attractive alternative.
By Marie-Eléonore Noiré