In the future, many of the payments we make will happen using blockchain technology. At the same time, the car as we know it is being continually digitised. What will happen if these two trends merge? Perhaps, the car as a mobile wallet.
In addition to autonomous driving and the integration of the vehicle into different smart home concepts, a potential new development is the integration of cash into the car. For example, the car could simply pay for small amounts of fuel, recharging or road tolls of its own accord.
The concept would be developed around the E-wallet. Behind this is the blockchain, a decentralized payment technology.
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Money is exchanged directly between the seller and the buyer without the help of banks or credit card companies. The advantage is that the payment is made immediately and it does not take several days for the money to appear on the account.
One of the reasons behind the project is the Startup Slock.it, which is specialized in business ideas around the Blockchain technology. Together with Innogy, UBS and ZF, the integration of the E-wallet concept into the car was made and the possibility for manufacturers to buy this technology.
The app can be used to load the wallet into the car and then pay for various services. The E-wallet is the first step for the payment of the electricity from a charging station of electric cars. Further applications are the automatic payment of parking or toll fees. But petrol stations would be an obvious choice to introduce the system.
Carsten Stöcker, the blockchain specialist at the Innogy Innovation Hub, describes the advantages of the new e-Wallet as follows: “With our project, we want to establish the foundation for a decentralised mobility platform on the market while creating a new transaction level.”
In a second step, the car will also make money on the side. Private car sharing is to be handled via the e-wallet. Startups such as Getaway or Drivy are currently still based on the telematics unit installed in the car and the handling via the smartphone. Payment with the rolling e-wallet, on the other hand, takes place directly via the blockchain technology – that is, the debiting is automatic and has only to be confirmed before.
In a further step, it should be possible to feed unused energy from the battery of the car back into the power grid. Also in this way, the e-wallet can be charged, so that the car becomes a moving exchange device.
The idea is not, however, new. Last year, Porsche participated in the Startup Evopark, which offers a similar service for parking garages. There, however, the parking fees are not billed via Blockchain, but quite normal over the account.