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Daimler's new EV charging system takes the hassle out of payment

The system uses digital certificates instead of swipe cards or phone apps to exchange payment info in the background.

2018 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Cabrio
Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Right now, using a random charger to juice up your EV requires a membership card, an app, a credit card or some combination of those things. Daimler wants to make it easier -- much easier.

Daimler announced this week that its new Plug&Charge system has left the pilot phase and is ready for production. The system was developed in conjunction with Hubject, a joint venture that aims to make EV charging easy and accessible for the masses.

Cars will need to be compatible with Plug&Charge, so don't expect this system to spread across the globe overnight.


Plug&Charge eliminates the need for a swipe card or app to charge a vehicle at a standalone charger. Instead, it relies on the ISO 15118 standard for communication between electric vehicles and the grid using digital certificates. Once the car is plugged in, the charger receives encrypted data from the car and the payment processing is handled in the background. The driver will plug in the car, and it'll work, simple as that.

 "Together with Daimler, we are drawing closer to our vision: simple charging and payment for electric vehicles for everybody, everywhere," said Christian Hahn, CEO of Hubject, in a statement. "Charging with Plug&Charge via ISO 15118 is our next step on the way toward a fully automated, customer-friendly charging experience."

BMW Group is also a Hubject shareholder, so its future vehicles could carry Plug&Charge technology, too. But it's not limited to companies involved in Hubject, so the sky's the limit for any automaker that believes a more seamless method of payment could boost EV adoption rates. With payment being handled in the background, it could be even easier than filling up a gas tank, which could go a long way with change-averse consumers.

Right now, there's only one EV capable of using Plug&Charge tech -- the Smart EQ Fortwo (née Smart Fortwo Electric Drive). But considering it's being folded into the larger Mercedes-EQ empire that's just over the horizon, odds are that Mercedes-Benz's future EVs will be capable of using Plug&Charge, too.