Japan’s Softbank Develops Uniquely Simple Method to Pay for Electric Vehicle Charging


SoftBank Headquarters?

SoftBank Headquarters?

SoftBank, a Japanese telecommunications and Internet corporation, has come up with a system that should make it easy to bill charging station users only for the amount of electricity their electric vehicle consumes.

According to Japanese news outlet Nikkei, the system works like this:

SoftBank Logo

SoftBank Logo


When a vehicle’s charging plug is inserted into the stand, information on both the vehicle and the user along with the amount of electricity used is sent to a dedicated server via the Internet. The user is later sent a bill for the electricity.”

“Testing will begin on July 20 in Teshima, Kagawa Prefecture, where eight of the charging stands will be installed. Once commercialized, the stands are expected to be used at gas stations and automobile dealerships.”

If successfully demoed, the convenience of this system should sell itself.

There’s so much confusion right now as hundreds of charging stations here in the US transition from free to pay-per-use.  This SoftBank setup, or something similar, could be the answer.

Though not a common name in the US, SoftBank is an established player in Japan.  SoftBank was just approved to acquire Sprint Nextel.


Source: Nikkei

Categories: Charging


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2 Comments on "Japan’s Softbank Develops Uniquely Simple Method to Pay for Electric Vehicle Charging"

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Er… what? Editors, please realize that just because a press release mentions “EV” and/or “internet” doesn’t necessarily make it worth repeating. Unless there’s way more to it than what the article transpires, this is worthless.

First, how does this magical system identify the user and/or the vehicle? If it’s with some RFID token, then it’s no different than what Blink, Chargepoint, Aerovironment and probably others do today. Blink allows PINs too.

Next, how does sending said user a bill solves anything? SoftBank would print and mail a bill for a 50cent charging session? Then a reminder if that person doesn’t pay?
Then how would they get the money anyway? Charging a credit card for small amounts like this is pretty pointless as transaction fees will eat most of it.

Short of having the charging stations take cash (not something which is likely to happen), prepayment (again, à la Blink/Chargepoint), or better yet a direct transaction with a micro-payments-friendly system like Dwolla, seems like the way to go.

Of course a “big banker” just prints more digital money. You know the kind that is not worth the paper its not printed on.