ABB Offering Credit Card Option for ‘Ultimate Interoperability’ Of Its DC Chargers

NOV 28 2015 BY MARK KANE 33

ABB fast charger

ABB fast charger

ABB introduced a new option for its Terra 53 DC fast chargers – a credit card terminal with both EMV chip and NFC contactless smartphone payment technology.

Having that feature enables the use of chargers without network membership. ABB calls it Ultimate Interoperability.  (Which sounds a lot like the keyword from the recent ROEV announcement between 17,000 public charging stations in the US on Thursday)

The option is available for both new and existing Terra 53 chargers.

“EMV smart chip technologies offer the contactless payment option that keeps users financial data more secure. Near Field Communication (NFC) payments also allow drivers extra security through their smart phone payment platforms such as Apple Pay or Android Pay. These features are both incorporated in ABB’s credit card reader option.”

Andy Bartosh, Director of ABB’s Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure business for the Americas said:

“Membership-based payment systems have distinct advantages for electric vehicle drivers in terms of local convenience, incentives, and reliable charging management across a region. However, as vehicle batteries get bigger, and charging options grow, more drivers will be roaming into different geographies. A credit card or smartphone payment system offers peace of mind that drivers can use a charging station right when they need it, regardless of who is managing the network.”

“There are parallels for EV charging and the early mobile phone industry.  Privacy and coverage issues were very frustrating for users who traveled outside of their home region. Developing better roaming solutions helped spur growth of mobile device use. Today, drivers know they can use a charger even if they don’t have the right membership card, relying on a credit card or smart phone transaction to get them to their next destination.”

One of the first companies to use credit card payment method is Sunspeed Enterprises:

“One company leveraging credit card payment methods for EV charging services is Sunspeed Enterprises, a Bay Area infrastructure provider. Sunspeed is developing a network of chargers along scenic roads that connect tourists from the Bay, along the West Coast Pacific Highway into Wine Country.”

Richard Sachen, Founder and CEO of Sunspeed said:

“The flexibility of a generic credit card reader is critical for Sunspeed’s business serving EV tourism. New drivers have trouble managing multiple network memberships. With thousands of new EV drivers every month, offering the simple credit card swipe that they are used to is a convenience they appreciate. About two thirds of our sessions at Point Reyes Station are credit card transactions instead of a membership card or phone activation.”

Joost Van Abeelen, ABB’s Global Director of Connected Services said:

“The global demand for the most common payment methods continues to grow as business models mature and the everyday user wants to use the payment solution they are familiar with. ABB has charging stations with credit card payment terminals around the world.”

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33 Comments on "ABB Offering Credit Card Option for ‘Ultimate Interoperability’ Of Its DC Chargers"

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ABB is equipment maker. The question is will operators adopt credit card payments? I suppose they can make credit card rate more than membership rate, such as $5/session + $0.20/min for credit card vs $0.10/min for members.

Lo and behold, that’s what eVgo charges for their no membership fee plan. For 70 miles charge in 20 min (or 30 min in Leaf) with $2.50/gal gas, that works out to 70/(5+5)*2.5 = 17.5 MPGe$. It’s not the worst if one remembers to disconnects at 80%, and only do it once or twice a month.


And considering most EV charging occurs at home, for me it’s no big deal if I have to pay a premium for electrons on the rare occasion I need public charging. In fact, I will gladly pay that premium to help encourage charging network providers to expand their networks. Expanded and convenient public charging networks will help encourage more of the masses to consider an EV.


Since I usually buy potatoes and cook them at home, it is no big deal if I have to pay a premium for the rare occasion I eat in a restaurant.

In fact, I willingly let restaurants rip me off on potatoes to support farmers and encourage more potato consumption. That will help the masses realize how great potatoes are.

Why does the above sounds so ridiculous?

It’s right alongside paying $10 for 2 gallons of gas every 60 miles at a station that has only 1 pump that takes 30 mins to pump.

Sorry my BEV helps me save money and I won’t turn around and toss that away to eVgo.


Your analogy falls to pieces when you realize that eating at home is indeed far cheaper than eating at a restaurant. also note that the potatoes come out of a DCFC station far faster than a level 2 station at home. Whether you like it or not, unless some benevolent organization comes along and decides to give fast charging away, you’re going to have to pay for it or just find another way to go on long trips.


That is why I have an ICE in addition to my BEV.

That is why the current non-Tesla charging networks will fail.

That is why the masses who can only have 1 vehicle will not adopt BEVs.

Everyone is willing to pay for potatoes/gas/electricity but only the naive ones get ripped off. The key here is that public charging cannot cost more than gas. Otherwise, who in the right mind would switch? Just put restaurants next to fast chargers. That’s where the money is.


Food supplies are just small part of restaurant bill. Most important, you have choice of restaurants or gas station, and no choice of chargers. Basically you pay what they ask or call “clean diesel” powered flatbed truck to deliver you home or to next charging station. So they can do whatever ask whatever they want, even to pay extra for “privilege” to pay them for their service. I don’t see it changing until battery cars remain niche market. Charging stations don’t come for free.


You’re paying for the convenience of public charging, just like you’re paying for the convenience of not washing dishes after eating at restaurant. Just like eating at home cost less, charging at home would cost less, too.

I offered my old college room-mate $1000 if he’d wash my dishes for the day. He declined…

Micke Larsson

Of course they will. As you say they can always have slightly different rates for members just like petrol stations have today.

The only real option is to turn customers down, which they won’t want to do.

The only real questions is why it’s been taking this long for charger manufacturers to implement it since it’s the most natural way to charge the customer.

Ralph stein

Just a reminder from the north. In cold weather 30 mins of charge can only get my Leaf 25 to 40 miles of charge.


Hang in there Ralph, the new 30 kWh Leaf will get you 30 to 50 miles in that cold weather, and in a few years you will have multiple options that will go 50 to 100 miles in cold weather.

Conversely, you could move south! I’m in Georgia where the high temp today will be near 70 degrees! 🙂


You should know better if you have a leaf of your own. It is not in cold weather, it is when your battery pack is cold that you get slower fast charging. If you start by driving 50miles you will get 40 miles of charge in 30 min and The new 30KWh leaf with faster charging and heat pump will get you 60miles in 30min, like your car in summer.


“With thousands of new EV drivers every month, offering the simple credit card swipe that they are used to is a convenience they appreciate. About two thirds of our sessions at Point Reyes Station are credit card transactions instead of a membership card”.
Finally, EV tourists can charge at some chargers without the hassle of multiple membership fees & cards.
With limited range, drivers of affordable EVs need chargers accessible 24/7.
How long until EV drivers will be able to set off on a trip across state lines confident of being able to recharge?
This is even more of a problem in the EU where member states have a variety of languages.


Credit card payment is of course ideal, because it is universal. But the banks, like Visa, want their part. So in theory it costs extra.

The other way of payment I like is what TheNewMotion in Holland of KiWhi in France are doing: yes, you need one membership card, but it works (for the moment) in 7 or 8 European countries. It works a bit like prepaid + roaming in the mobile phone world. But TheNewMotion is better then prepaid; you pay, automatically, all your charging at all kind of different chargers in different countries, at the end of the month and get a specified invoice. TheNewMotion asks € 0,35 per charge for that service (on top of the costs for charging). I wonder if that is less or more then what Visa would charge for a payment. (Of course Visa wouldn’t charge you but the provider, but the provider would get it back from you by upping their price).

Has anyone a clue how much Visa is asking for this kind of small payments?


Like $0.30+3%. It is silly to invent new type of payment processing just for charging stations. Payment solutions are well known and charging stations are no different from any other retailers. It isn’t main issue. The problem that you can’t make any money with too few customers when you charge per use. Monthly fees allows to charge everybody even not coming to the station.


I’m glad I bought a Tesla. In 29K miles I have only once used a public charger, and that was a free one in Newport News, VA and was more of an opportunity charge than one needed to get to my destination. All my charging has been at home, or at superchargers. The Tesla model of paying up front for all your away from home charging is the way to go.

Three Electrics

I applaud this move. Pay per use is the only stable long term business model. Subscription models can work wonders, but since nobody can predict the future, they tend to waste more consumer cash than is ideal.

Micke Larsson

And one solution doesn’t have to exclude another. There is no problem to have both card readers and subscription models for the same station.


And to add to a great experience at a fast charger another important factor is reliability. Knowing that you will be able to charge up in the same way that you know you will be able to fill up your almost empty gas tank at a gas station on your trip. IMO having 2 or more fast chargers at busier locations is necessary.

Micke Larsson

Reliability is key. Then it’s good to have companies charging for the charge, since they are more interested in the charger working.

It’s superannoying to get to a charger and it doesn’t work. Especially the free ones since no one cares about them. And I have even been told by the staff at a restaurant (with golden arches 😉 ) that I shouldn’t complain so much when it’s broken because it’s free, like it being free would help me get home when it’s not working…

Jay Cole

Maybe its just me, but I’ve always kind of thought that all L2/L3 chargers should have just a common 110 plug accessible on them.

Sure, if you are looking for a boost and the machine is down its hella annoying, but at the very least you would know pulling up with 6-7 miles of range left that you ‘could’ still bump that up to 20 miles (and get to the next station at least) if you left it there for a couple hours.

Micke Larsson

That would be great. Well, a common 220-230 outlet over here.
110V is pretty rare, it’s one of those things you can see in a bathroom for electric shavers on some old hotels and ferries. I’m no electrician (nor historian) but I guess it’s a relic from when electricity and electric components were less safe and water+electricity could cause some trouble for 230V.

I very much support the point though 😛 And it should be always on and on a fairly separate circuit so it works no matter what the problem with the fast charger is.

Jay Cole

Yes, agree.

Sorry about that, I was relating too personal there. I should have said that all L2/L3 units should also have a common household receptacle as well … just so we don’t all hate/fear them when we really need a boost, (=


Having a 110 or 200 volt outlet is great, but having an actual Level 2 EV plug to use is best since an EV driver may not always have his charger along to use with the outlet plug. Some fast charger locations in the US that I see poping up (I know from PlugShare activity of new chargers that I’ve been watching for some time) do not have any other chargers to use if the fast charger would be having issues or be out of order. I for one wouldn’t trust visiting a fast charger like that if it is the only one in the area. At the least a Level 2 charger should be installed, and as soon as possible considering increased usage have a second fast charger installed as well. On highway locations between cities that only have one fast charger this should be implimented within a few months afterward. When will we start having a reliable fast charge network? I hope it is coming in the next couple years as mainstream drivers start to buy EV’s. This will be a part of making that actually happen IMO.

Jay Cole

Think maybe you didn’t understand what Mikael and I were discussing. This is a L2/L3 charger.

With all the systems attached, componentry and often the need to be wirelessly connected to operation, the reliability of public L2/L3 EVSEs is always a problem.

I am suggesting that the actual L2/L3 units themselves should also have a “dumb” direct wire, household-type L1 plug in ADDITION.

So when someone arrives at those stations in need of a charge and find them not functioning, there is still is the ability to charge at a slow rate. They are not SOL.

By doing this (adding a L1), it gives EV drivers the confidence to pull up at unknown chargers with 10 mile of range left – knowing even if it is broken they can make it to the next one, or get that last bit of juice they need…albeit slowly.


Just about time the obvious become ubiquitous.

Coin* acceptance could also be very useful as you always have some spare change of the accepted currency where you travel.
And since charging fee isn’t so expensive, just some solid money is good.

*In Canada we have the polar bear metal piece witch worth 2$ that is easy to carry or find everywhere.

Micke Larsson

Coins? Seriously. How about a slot where you can trade your buffalo skin, arrow heads or maybe some potatoes for some charging?

There is no one using coins anymore and haven’t been doing that for at least a decade or two.


I’m curious how you buy a soda, pay a toll, or pay for parking without coins. Here in South Jersey, everthing still takes quarters. If you are lucky, you can even find a payphone in some places. But i don’t think its 2 dimes anymore.

Micke Larsson

I pay for soda or parking with a credit/debit card. Or by sms/app/electronic wallet.

We don’t have any tolls. Well, there are two in the country but it’s all electronic and automatic.

There are some old vending machines that just take coins though and these bubble-gum/small toys machines for kids.

I do keep some spare change in the car, but I can’t remember the last time I actually used some of it.


Also the self serve carwash. My drive thru carwash accepts credit cards but the self serve is still good old quarters. And so are the vacuums. And the vending machines full of air refresheners and armor all still take quarters.

The reason all the charging stations started with the membership cards is simple. They needed the data. They need to know who exactly is plugged in and for how long and they even wanted to know what kind of EV you drive. The federal government gave huge grants to these early charging networks in exchange for all the data. I believe it was called the EV Project. Why do more people not know this? I asked Chargepoint way back in 2010, why can’t i just swipe my credit card, or why can’t i go inside the gas station that has your station and pay cash? Why can’t i buy a prepaid gift card and use that? Simple, they need use to use that rfid chipped membership card to know who started the session and who ended it. This way if equipment gets damaged or stolen, they know who did it. If you could pay cash, there is no accountability. Even with credit cards, its possible to get a prepaid card that is not linked to you personally and you could also be using someone else’s card. It happens all the time now, ive seen underage kids using their parents cards… Read more »

But there are public chargers that take credit card without membership since Nov. 2013.


Did you miss my comment towards the end about the Sheetz stations in Harrisburg and State College that take credit cards? I had a point to make, it just took me a lot of words to get to it.


That does like nice, but starting at $5,795? Id rather buy a Ge Durastation for $399 and provide the electricity to my customers for free. At $.18 a kwh, it would take a very long time to make up the $5400 difference.