EV drivers can now use blockchain to avoid being overcharged

Posted Aug 25, 2019 by Tim Sandle
Canadian technologists have successfully integrated blockchain technology into energy systems. This is to expand the charging infrastructure required to power electric vehicles and to provide a means to make transaction transparent.
Tesla Model S in a show room in London.
Tesla Model S in a show room in London.
The new development comes from the University of Waterloo, and it represents a scalable blockchain-oriented charging system. The reason for such an invention is to overcome a lack of trust between charging service providers, property owners and owners of electric vehicles.
The platform is an open system, where anyone using the blockchain can have access to the data and tis will enable anyone to see if data has been tampered with. It is anticipated that the most common aspect of the blockchain will be vehicle owners seeing to determine if they are being overcharged. A secondary check will be made by property owners to determine whether they are being underpaid.
By mapping out the steps involved with the vehicle charging process, the researchers were able to design a minimal blockchain system based on smart contracts. This design had a focus on resolving all potential trust issues.
To test out the blockchain solution, trials have been run for a distributed power grid and to help track the use of cobalt in the batteries required for electric vehicles. With the test, the researchers collaborated with a service provider and property owners to install electric vehicle supply equipment, to be used by car owners for a fee.
The idea was that the revenue generated from the charging stations would then shared between the charging service provider and each property owner. Given that the electric vehicle supply equipment is operated by the charging service provider, it is important that the property owners are able to trust the provider to compensate them fairly for any electricity used.
To speed up the process of bringing the blockchain online, a key design concept was to closely mimic existing interfaces wherever possible.
Commenting on the blockchain for EV charging, lead researcher Christian Gorenflo said: “Energy services are increasingly being provided by entities that do not have well-established trust relationships with their customers and partners.”
He adds: “In this context, blockchains are a promising approach for replacing a central trusted party, for example, making it possible to implement direct peer-to-peer energy trading."
The full study has been published by the Proceedings of the Tenth ACM International Conference on Future Energy Systems, and it is titled “Mitigating Trust Issues in Electric Vehicle Charging using a Blockchain.”