POD Point Kills RFID Cards And Launches Open Charge

OCT 29 2015 BY MARK KANE 31

POD Point Kills RFID Cards And Launches Open Charge

POD Point Kills RFID Cards And Launches Open Charge

BMW i3 at POD Point charging station

BMW i3 at POD Point charging station

POD Point, a British charging station manufacturer and charging network operator, announced the death of RFID cards as a way to access charging.

Their new approach “Open Charge” relies on a free mobile phone app to set charging of connected EV.

Of note:  If anyone reading this has ever attempted to source RFID enabled chargers for commercial use, than they already realize the costs on these units are much, much higher than having a connected app control the unit.

But that’s not telling the whole story as there are 15 minutes free charging capability for anyone who connects an electric car. You will need to use the app to set free or paid charging service only if you want to charge beyond the first free 15 minutes.

POD Point boasts that this is a cool emergency feature, because you don’t need to have RFID card or mobile phone to charge for a while, and you don’t even need to be member of the network.

After extensive research with EV drivers to work out how we improve charging in the UK, three things are really clear:

  • Drivers want charging to be simple with no memberships and access cards.
  • Customers and drivers want ultra reliable charge points.
  • As the industry moves to a charging tariff, everyone wants that to be simple and accessible to all.

So POD Point are pleased to announce that RFID cards are dead to us. All of our new charge points will no longer need RFID cards to function and our drivers no longer need to carry a wallet full of different membership cards.”

Older RFID charging stations still will be available, but the company will stop issuing them and intends to focus on installing Open Charge stations. Already dozens of Open Charge POD Points were installed and 1,000 more are expected over the next year in UK.

More on the POD Point Open Charge and video:

POD Point Open Charge

  • An intuitive mobile phone app that means our chargers are available to everyone, with no membership ties or monthly payments.
  • A full range of Solo and Twin charge points that are simple to use:
    • Plug in and the charge starts immediately. No waiting for one of the RFID cards to work.
    • Drivers then have a 15 minute window to access the POD Point Open Charge web or mobile apps to confirm their charge. Time to get inside out of the rain, or get into an area where you have signal.
    • Return to the car and unplug.
  • We have even tackled the issue of cables being trapped, as they are now released from the car’s control panel when the car is not charging.

Super Reliable

  • We have increased the reliability of Open Charge POD Points significantly.
  • As the chargers start charging immediately, drivers will always have a 15 minute emergency charge, even if they have no mobile phone with them.
  • The units also fail in favour of the drivers, so if they fail to communicate then the charging continues anyway.


  • If a host site chooses to set a tariff to charge, the mobile phone app supports ‘pay as you go’.
  • Drivers use the app in the same way as an Oyster card, with each charge being deducted from their balance.
  • Chargepoint tariffs will be shown on our live availability map if it is publicly accessible.”

Categories: Charging

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31 Comments on "POD Point Kills RFID Cards And Launches Open Charge"

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I’ve never understood why the car doesn’t transmit an id over the charging cable so there is no need for the fuss with cards and/or a mobile app.


If I had more time, I would work on this myself. There is no reason to plug in a cable AND have to use another form of authentication for payment.

Should just send encrypted data to the EVSE, which it uses for authentication, charging capability (already included), and payment.

+1000 now we are at 2000 😉

-5: please take some time to work on it, someone has to do it 😉

+1000 more now we’re at 3000.

This is so damn obvious to EV drivers; what’s the bloody hold up?

arne-nl said:

“I’ve never understood why the car doesn’t transmit an id over the charging cable so there is no need for the fuss with cards and/or a mobile app.”

Great idea! Of course, that will require standardization across all PEVs and all chargers. This is another reason why we should all be advocating for an actual standard for public EV chargers, rather than competing formats.

All it would require is a few standardized communication variables, even if the plugs and power levels are different.

It would also be retrofittable via software only, not a hardware replacement like standardizing power levels.

This will happen one day. I don’t have the time or the pull to work on it, but someone should. (I’m also not sure how anyone who develops it, makes any money…maybe if a provider like ChargePoint developed it)


“It would also be retrofittable via software only”

Really? And how you know this?

There are many different makes of EVSEs and cars out there. I find it super hard to believe that your broad statement could be true for all of them.

All charging protocols arleady require a comms connection for confirming the connection and requesting power level. The comms interface just needs to be extended to include a few more parameters, this is purely software.

LOL Josh

I think you are confusing the design of new products vs things that are “retrofittable”.

I’d like to extend your fantasy … please add Netflix support to my 5 year old TV …

LOL ggpa, you -do- realize that there is an active and talented community that write and sell/give replacement firmware out there, right? If not for your personal device doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist at all (I’ve updated my 2012 PanaPlas twice),
Adding a tap for vehicle ID read (registered with the service) is hardly insurmountable.

Phr3d – You crack me up. “Hardly insurmountable” is not the same as “likely”.

Pages that discuss charging on insideevs.com always get the weirdest opinions. I find it strange that the one topic where we all could benefit from co-operation, somehow stimulates narrow minded thought. Go figure!

Bottom line is that the retrofit of existing cars and EVSEs will not happen. Our best hopes for direct detailed communication for L2 charges are
1) regulatory intervention for future EVSEs and cars
2) a new smart, backwards compatible solution.

I’ve re-read my response and I cannot pull narrow-minded from it, sorry.

My position – Every Single device that Can communicate IDs itself with its unique ID, TV, smartphone, vehicles. That data is conceivably already provided in the handshake when you plug in, i.e., no retrofit, simply being able (allowed) to use it. When you have your car worked on at a service center, voila` it IDs itself to the diagnostic device, since at least 2001.

But I’m over my head here, my initial response was that it was likely that you Could in fact, add Netflix to your five year old TV, as many people enjoy firmware modification.

I believe you are aware of things that I am clearly missing RE the comm between a charge provider and the vehicle.
Having dinked with the firmware settings on several cars, I did not find it that complicated, therefore I am guilty of ASSumption, perhaps.

Phr3d – Yes, it is assumption or presumption …

What was advocated higher up in this thread, was new smarter EVSEs but that requires standardization.

You and Josh seemed to suggest that it is viable to retrofit the existing cars and EVSEs. I do not believe this is even remotely likely to happen for a majority of the existing cars and EVSEs.

I think it is narrow minded to extrapolate something is possible for one specific case, and assume it is a viable in general for all cases, without substantiation.

For instance, the fact that you are able to update a specific 3 yr old TV is not enough proof to say you are able to update every old TV.

Josh said: “All charging protocols arleady require a comms connection for confirming the connection and requesting power level. The comms interface just needs to be extended to include a few more parameters, this is purely software.” Well, I hope that you’re right, Josh. Personally, I’m not that optimistic. Just looking at the history of how things have become standardized, I don’t think it’s realistic to think that all auto makers can be persuaded to voluntarily adopt this software standard, even if you’re right about no hardware change being required in any case. Sorry if I come across as a wet blanket here, but I just don’t see all auto makers getting onboard for any given ID/billing app for charging unless one of two things happen: 1. There is a general agreement by most of the major EV makers on an actual charging protocol standard — a hardware standard, not just a software standard — which forces all the other EV makers to conform so as not to be considered obsolete.* 2. The government mandates a standard which all auto makers selling new cars in that country must conform to. Historically, #2 is a lot more likely to happen than #1.… Read more »

I don’t want to get 100% tracked by the companies.

How is this any different than using an RFID, bar code, or phone app? Any charger that is going to bill you has to “track” you.

If you don’t want to be “trackable” (btw, you are in virtually 100% of cases regardless) you’d better start advocating for coin operated chargers not very unlike parking meters.

Many parking meters already have power; this is the next step.

Counter-Strike Cat said:

“I don’t want to get 100% tracked by the companies.”

Unless you pay cash for everything, and never use one of those “frequent shopper” cards, it’s unavoidable.

Welcome to the Information Age.

It exists already and is called IEC 15118. Most manufacturers are involved with it.

It is a problem how to control access at public charge locations. None of the existing solutions are great.

My ideal would be for a public EVSE is to use bluetooth for vehicle identification. This can even work without internet access.

It is very cheap to add a bluetooth ID to future cars, and the existing cars can access such a system with a cell phone.

How would Bluetooth cope with parking next to multiple EVSE? Sometimes we aren’t even plugging into the closest pedestal. I prefer the wireline communication idea so far as the next step.

You can prefer wired communication as much as you want. But that is not going to happen as a retrofit for existing EVSEs.

Welcome to the modern world of wireless communication.

Is this new? I can’t think of any charging networks that DON’t accept a smart phone app payment method.

To me, this is the best part:

* The units also fail in favour of the drivers, so if they fail to communicate then the charging continues anyway.

So… Plug in, turn on cellular jammer, voila, free charge?

I hope they prevent cars from unplugin and plugin multiple times in a row to get “free forever” charging.

If you want to stay there and unplug and re-plug every 15 minutes, you can have the free electricity. These are only L2, so the hourly cost of electricity is only $1.32/hr at $0.20/kWh and 6.6kW.

Yes, it does seem this is a protocol just begging to be abused. I suspect the protocol will soon be changed to something which actually takes human nature into account.

Pod Point is still not listening to its customers: “Drivers want charging to be simple with no memberships and access cards”.

You don’t need to download an app to buy gasoline; you just need to pay with a debit or credit card.
The gas pump does not track your vehicle id or even whether you are filling a car, an RV or a can for your lawnmower.

Tonight I went to a supermarket; their gas station was closed for the night, but their new pumps have pay-at-the-pump with debit or credit cards, so you can buy gas anytime.

If you want EVs to go mainstream, charging needs to be as simple as buying gas.
Anyone should be able to pay for electricity at any charger with just a credit or debit card.

All these fancy membership ideas should be optional extras.

Pod point chargers are totally unreliable. There units are bad design, both hardware and software. There is so many problems with them, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Support is also terrible if you’re lucky they answer the phone. Recommend avoiding this manufacturer.