Why shouldn't electric car charging networks allow you to roam for a power provider just like you roam between mobile phone providers? No reason at all if Nokia Siemens Networks kicks off.
GigaOm writes that this week Nokia Siemens and a German public utility group called Smartlab announced that they're developing an authentication and authorisation service to let EV drivers 'roam' between various providers when charging up. The UK alone has six power companies to choose between and all compete with each other, so this could have considerable impact in Europe.
The service, called e-clearing.net, will authenticate your data across the charging infrastructure using information like your EV charging contract ID, a PIN number, telephone number or RFID card to keep the transaction secure.
It seems that IT is creeping into so much of electric vehicle development, not just in the cars but now in the infrastructure too. One of the lessons we learned from the growth of the Internet is that the IT layer for a new technology needs to be have open standards in order to spur innovation and offer the best choice for consumers. (Hands up who's still got a Sony Betamax video player after failing to buy VHS?) The smart grid industry is struggling with that issue right now - how can power companies continue to poach each other's customers if a customer is tied to a supplier by a vendor-specific smart meter?
Hats off to Nokia Siemens Networks for thinking ahead.