Mobility Portal, Spain
Date: February 1, 2024
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By Mobility Portal

AFIR measures: What are the pros and cons of the new requirements?

The AFIR advocates for a payment system based on QR codes. While it offers multiple benefits, it also poses a series of risks for users. What is being questioned about this new agreement?

Recently, the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) approved a modification regarding the required technology at charging points in the European Union.

To be operational, terminals must have the QR Code. The measure comes into effect starting from April 13 of the current year.

In the same vein, the specific requirements for the charger are: allowing ad-hoc charging, accepting electronic payments, and clearly informing users about pricing options.

However, the approval for the implementation of this system was under debate, as many companies faced challenges when working with this technology.

“Some of the measures may be too detailed from the perspective of our industry and counterproductive,” says Raphaël Héliot, Policy Manager at the European Association for Electromobility (AVERE), regarding this section of the AFIR.

“The dynamic QR code is one of the sections that can pose problems, as it requires screen support at slow charging points below 50 kilowatts. In this regard, manufacturers may not be prepared,” explains Héliot.

Finally, regarding the software standard, the AVERE representative concludes that there is a need to continue working on it to improve it.

On the other hand, it’s worth mentioning that some service stations have reported the appearance of fake QR codes lately.

Faced with this issue, the charging point installation company, Driveco, shares a series of defense mechanisms to prevent scams.

For example, the company advises verifying the website to which the screen is redirected and/or using a proprietary application to remain in a 100% secure technical environment.

However, there were also positive opinions about this new measure.

“It’s a special moment for the development of charging infrastructure in the European Union. Well done,” says Marcin Nowak, a member of the Council of the Polish Chamber of Electromobility.

But what are the other details of the new AFIR modification?

Regarding the installation of terminals, it requires at least one every 60 km on main roads.

In addition, in this regard, each year, the total power supplied through charging stations must grow with the number of registered cars.

What are the reasons to implement the QR Code?

While some industry players express opposition to its placement, board members approved the measure, as this technology presents a range of advantages.

Firstly, the motivation for its implementation is a better user experience.

On one hand, it provides convenience to drivers, as they simply scan the QR code with their phone, choose the payment method, and then confirm the details.

Additionally, it provides an electronic receipt.

In this regard, Chris Heineman, Product Manager at Alfen Charging Equipment, says, “This implies that every public charger must clearly display all components of the price. If you want to enable dynamic cost setting, this is the way to go.”

On the other hand, the system is also flexible, as its functions can be accessed through any smartphone and any payment method.

The benefits are not only for customers, but CPOs (Charge Point Operators) can also benefit from this tool.

From an economic standpoint, operators can save on installation and maintenance costs on payment terminals, cards, or applications. This results in a reduction in fees and commissions to credit networks or app providers.

Another point in favour is that it allows reaching more customers by offering an open and interoperable payment system.

In this sense, CPOs quickly implement the QR code payment method at their existing or new charging stations without the need for costly infrastructure updates.

“This marks a significant step in the evolution of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, with the goal of increasing accessibility and ease of use,” says Roland Steinmetz, founder of EVConsult.

However, he adds that “all these possibilities also increase costs for the driver, especially at conventional public chargers.”

Some of the companies already using this system are EVBox, IOCharger, and Teison.

Read More: “Balance 2023: What was the reception of the AFIR by the European Ministers?”

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