The rise of private electric vehicle (EV) ownership in Germany has led to the expansion of charging infrastructure. With over 160 different charge point operators and over 3.5 thousand charging points, streamlining access to that infrastructure is vital to ensuring full buy-in from consumers. After all, what’s the use of a charging station if you can’t use it?
To ensure that those who use EVs are easily able to access those charging stations, GLS Mobility (GLS Mobilität), as part of the German GLS bank, has initiated an innovative new contactless payment system. While the system is limited to use in Germany for the moment, it offers insights into how to streamline processes to promote electric vehicle usage when the electric grid encompasses disparate providers. The system known as Giro-e can serve an important role in getting people to choose travel via EVs instead of vehicles with internal combustion engines if it allows for reliable connectivity.
As Elena Kornettka, Political Communication Officer at GLS Mobilität, told TUMI on the 12th episode of season two of the Talking Transport Transformation podcast the gas station is soon to be a thing of the past. The ability to charge EVs has to be made easier in order to increase the technology’s adaptation. Giro-e closes the accessibility gap by allowing contactless pay at any of the charging systems. It also includes a software that allows providers to design their own price model or enable discounts; and gives corporations who invest in e-fleets the ability to reimburse employees who are able to charge their corporate vehicles at home. That could prove advantageous for some, as there really aren’t enough charging points yet, she says, and many are not in the right places.
While the aim of GLS is to enhance participation in more sustainable forms of transportation, like electric vehicles, they have also developed a political position paper that would reduce the number of cars on the road while doing away with tax subsidies that make automobiles cheaper to operate. “Everyone should have the same rights to use the mobility they need at the moment,” says Kornettka. “All kinds of mobility are affordable and attainable.”