“Pay with PlugShare” Makes It Easier to Pay for Public EV Charging

By · October 02, 2013

Pay with PlugShare

PlugShare, the most widely used charger locator application in the United States, yesterday announced adding a payment solution that is charging-station neutral, allowing EV drivers to charge their vehicle at any network’s station. “We are trying to make it easier for first time drivers to use charging infrastructure,” Brian Kariger, CEO of Recargo Inc., told PluginCars.com. (Recargo owns PlugShare, as well as PluginCars.com.)

The payment solution, called Pay With PlugShare, solves the dilemma of proprietary payment systems, extra fees, and members-only charging by allowing payment through a smart phone via the PlugShare app. It’s similar to paying with a credit card at a parking meter. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are all accepted by Pay With PlugShare.

It works with any charging network, and no membership is required. Networks providing fee-based public charging can add Pay With PlugShare while maintaining direct control over their pricing and infrastructure. Pay With PlugShare can be linked to a network’s existing payment infrastructure or can use PlugShare’s ecommerce infrastructure.

Pay With PlugShare is currently available with iOS and will be available with Android later this year.

Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) support will be available before the end of 2013, so networks investing in OCPP can use that infrastructure.
SemaConnect is the first network to partner with PlugShare to introduce the new payment system.

“Pay with PlugShare makes it easier than ever to start, and pay for charging sessions,” Mark Pastrone, vice president of business development for SemaConnect told PluginCars.com.

SemaConnect of Bowie, Mary., is a leading provider of commercial charging solutions, including the hardware, network operations, and software. Its customers are commercial property developers including retail, multiple-family, hospitality, and medical properties. Pay With PlugShare will be available at more than half of the 600 SemaConnect Level 2 chargers nationwide.
Charging costs using Pay With PlugShare are up to the real estate developer, said Pastrone. “The cost averages $1.00 to $2.00 an hour,” he said.


· · 4 years ago

Hmm, requiring a specific smartphone, a data plan, the right app, finding the charging station on the map (good luck when there are many clumped at the same location), and typing a credit card number on said phone is now considered easier than flashing an RFID card?
I guess it's always nice to have options, but I don't see myself using this.

Any word on the service fee, commission or whatnot charged by Recargo to the operator?
Until now, Plugshare/Recargo had no incentive to treat any charging station differently than another. I'm concerned that this isn't the case anymore.

· · 4 years ago

I'm with Mr. O. How is carrying a smartphone more universal than a credit card?

· · 4 years ago


Obviously, there will be people who won't want to pay for the recharge, or pay for a phone, or the phone's service, etc.

There's always the Prius.

· · 4 years ago

Gadgeteers love this sort of stuff. Sorry, Tony . . . I don't think owning an electric car should be such a technologically encumbering experience that a specific smart phone and app is needed to simply access a public charging terminal. If pay toilets start requiring these, there will be many holding impressive technology in their hands while wearing trousers with wet spots surrounding their crotches.

I find it somewhat curious that there millions - perhaps billions - of financial transactions done each day with debit/credit card swiper/keypads but there's such a fear of these things among the EV cognoscenti. Also . . . didn't California Governor Jerry Brown just sign a bill requiring that public charging terminals have equal access (ie: no more requirement for special membership cards, etc.) in your state? This probably also puts the kibosh on the smart-phone-only charging business model. Make it an option but not a requirement.

Postscript: I'm just finishing up a two week loan of a Mitsubishi i and I've found this one to be the most satisfying EV of all borrowed so far. I could ask for more range on the batteries and a little less lumpiness in the sheet metal styling up front. But it's the most unpretentious of the bunch. Professional car reviewers hated it because it doesn't handle like a Formula 1 car and that it doesn't have a preponderance of gizmos in the cockpit. But I will be looking for used ones of these before I search out used Leafs, Volts and the like down the road.

· · 4 years ago


I'm the Chief Product Officer at Recargo.

There is NO cost to the driver OR the charging network use Pay With PlugShare. We do believe there is no benefit or business model adding new costs to charging sessions which is already a very thin margin for charging networks. The whole point of Pay with PlugShare is to help make it easy for people to use public infrastructure.

RFID Cards are great if you have one and are using one network regularly and don't mind signing up for a subscription or carrying a pre-paid balance. For someone who only needs to use a network from time to time or just got their car this should make things easier.

It would be great if chargers everywhere had credit card readers on them or if most banks issued the contact-less cards that are compatible with some stations. Unfortunately, that's not the case with the infrastructure that's in the ground today or even with many of the stations going in the near term.

· · 4 years ago

"if most banks issued the contact-less cards that are compatible with some stations"

This is something I had taken for granted. I have such a card, so my MasterCard works with all the ChargePoints in the area. I just assumed that was the case with all credit cards until Bill Howland showed me otherwise.

I personally think that a stripe reader would solve pretty much all of this mess. Add a card reader like almost every gas pump has where you stick the card in a slot, rather than using a proprietary RFID reader. I guess that's a hardware update though, so maybe this has its place.

I still think that credit cards are much more common than smartphones, so lets get a system that uses generic credit cards.

· · 4 years ago

I think this is a significant step in the right direction. The Governor signed SB 454 which requires that public EVSE be available to all without requiring a membership card or key fob. As a result of ECOtality's bankruptcy, many of us installing EVSE are rethinking proprietary networks.
This App will make it possible for anyone with a (smart) phone to charge without paying the roaming fees proposed by CollaborativeV. How many EV drivers do you know who don't carry a smart phone (i-Phone or Android)?

Thanks, RECARGO for providing a real service (without a Roaming fee) to those of us who charge on the road. I hope that many more networks adopt Pay with PlugShare.

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