Bosch’s EV charging apps use IoT to accelerate electromobility in Germany


Approximately 80% of Germany’s internet-enabled public electric vehicle (EV) charge points are now accessible, with payment options available, through smartphone applications, which is seen as being an ideal example of the benefit of the Internet of Things (IoT), where intelligent objects are connected together.

By offering EV owners the ability to quickly find charging stations and pay for their use with one click, innovative charging apps are making electromobility even more practical for everyday use throughout Germany. Smartphones are key to the system, with charging apps allowing EV drivers to quickly find available charging stations in their area, and then use them simply and conveniently. Working together with various auto makers, Bosch Software Innovations is offering charging apps along with the backend infrastructure, with the technology currently available at no cost from auto makers Smart and Mercedes-Benz, with Renault soon to follow. Around 3,700 public charging points in Germany are already accessible through the apps, which form a part of Bosch’s global connectivity strategy, where EVs and their charging infrastructure will also be a part of the IoT.

In addition to the technical implementation, which features services such as the intercharge eRoaming platform, Bosch Software Innovations has also signed contracts in advance with a host of charge point operators. This means that app users can conveniently use the displayed charging stations without the need for cash, and without having to resolve complex technical and contractual issues themselves before doing so. Instead, all they need is a PayPal account and to have completed a one-time registration. Even the payment process is completed from within the app in a convenient and secure fashion. The three auto makers are using the charging apps in an effort to win over more electric car customers, as, aside from attractive vehicle offerings, a straightforward recharging procedure plays a critical role in the continued advancement of electromobility in Germany. The operators of the charging stations also profit, as the apps help them to increase use of their charging points.

With its technology, Bosch Software Innovations is laying the foundation for bringing together various players, such as auto makers, charge point operators, energy providers, retailers, and electric car drivers, on a single software platform. Behind the scenes is a powerful network of systems that are connected with one another in real time. The cloud-enabled Bosch IoT Suite software package for the development of IoT applications forms the technological basis for the charging apps. It incorporates a broad range of regional electricity and charge point providers, in addition to the intercharge eRoaming platform and the partnered services that ensure convenient payment functionality. The charge point operators are connected to the network via the intercharge eRoaming platform, with an additional 700 charging points from Belectric Drive, EmiS, and E-Wald GmbH recently being made accessible for use through the charging apps.

“With the charging apps, we are bringing the Internet of Things and electromobility together,” said Kai Weber, product manager at Bosch Software Innovations. “To us, this is the perfect combination, since we have been actively promoting new developments in both of these areas for several years now.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).