IONITY, the leading high-power charging network in Europe, is the first open charging network in Europe to offer Plug & Charge at all its charging stations, making EV charging easier than ever before.
With Plug & Charge, as soon as the charging cable is inserted in the vehicle, the vehicle is automatically identified at the charging station and authorized for charging. For this purpose, charging contracts are read directly from the car and protected by digital certificates. The charging process only starts after successful authentication. Billing is also automated with all the necessary information being stored in the vehicle’s on-board system. With IONITY Plug & Charge, payments at the charging station are a thing of the past, which provides maximum convenience for drivers of electric vehicles.
But the software integration and validation process behind it are all the more complex and require tailored and intensive cooperation between all parties involved. 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 for IONITY customers.
“Getting the communication chains up and running was a major challenge. It was necessary to develop Plug & Charge as an entire ecosystem,” explains Dr Susanne Koblitz, Head of Charging Technology at IONITY. “Together with relevant players in the industry, we implemented a standardized 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.”
During the development phase, the complexity of the technologies required thorough testing.
“At the end of 2018, we conducted the first tests on communication between the charging station and the electric vehicle. Since the beginning of 2020, we have established Plug & Charge at several stations, primarily in the German market, to give our partners the opportunity to conduct their own tests,” Koblitz said. “After a gradual rollout over the last few months, we are pleased to announce that Plug & Charge is now available to our customers across the entire network.”
The Plug & Charge authentication process not only increases convenience, but also offers greater data security, for example in terms of billing procedures. More and more car manufacturers are equipping their vehicles with the Plug & Charge function.