E-Cars: User-friendly payment solution developed for e-charging stations

September 27, 2023 | FRANKFURT, GERMANY

To facilitate spontaneous ad-hoc charging on the go, the municipal utility cooperation Thüga has teamed up with SMART/LAB, a specialist in EV charging billing, and Mastercard to develop an innovative and user-friendly solution for card payments at EV charging stations. With the SMART/LAB solution, charging station operators can quickly and easily add a hybrid payment terminal to their existing charging station infrastructure, as well as to new ones to be set up, and use it immediately.

The terminal integrates open-loop technology, enabling EV charging station operators to accept all common cashless payment and authorization methods, while meeting the requirements of the new European Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR). From July 1 2024, publicly accessible fast charging stations with a capacity of 50 kW or more must offer at least one contactless payment method with debit or credit cards. By accepting debit and credit cards as a minimum standard, the regulation not only ensures uniform payment methods, but also guarantees an openly accessible payment system.

The new hybrid payment terminal can be quickly and easily integrated into the existing infrastructure of the various providers via the specially developed payment gateway in a plug-and-play process and also accepts closed payment systems, such as the charging cards of the municipal utilities or other electric mobility providers (EMPs). Using NFC technology, drivers of electric vehicles can make secure and convenient contactless payments with their debit or credit card, for example from Mastercard. The payment process also works with digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, as well as established providers’ charging and fleet cards.

Dr Matthias Cord, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Management of Thüga, states: "When we entered into a strategic cooperation with Mastercard in 2021 as a pioneer in the energy sector, our goal was to drive digitization, develop cities sustainably and find simple solutions for customers. We have now extended this to electromobility and have taken a big step forward. I am proud of that."

In the joint cooperation, SMART/LAB will handle the authorization and billing of charging processes via its leading background system in Germany and ensure conformity with German calibration law.

"As a leading provider in the field of e-mobility, we are creating a solution that ensures maximum flexibility for all users," says Mark Steffen Walcher, CEO of SMART/LAB. "The charging cards of our municipal utilities and our ladebusiness customers will continue to work as usual – the payment options will just be extended."

Electromobility can only establish itself on a nationwide supply of charging facilities that are tailored to the needs of electric car drivers. Uniform standards and secure, open payment systems are important for promoting consumer acceptance and strengthening sustainable e-mobility. The introduction of the hybrid terminal not only offers greater convenience, but also makes a significant contribution to accessibility and thus to a broad user base.

"Our goal is to make electromobility as accessible as possible and to remove any barriers that have stood in the way of users to date. Promoting sustainable mobility in Germany and Europe is just as important to us as the security and simplicity of payment processes in electromobility. The new solution has the potential to create a new payment standard in the e-mobility market," explains Dr. Andreas Spengel, Senior Vice President Fintech, Platforms and New Verticals at Mastercard Central Europe.


SMART/LAB Innovationsgesellschaft mbH is a company of energie schwaben, Stadtwerke Osnabrück, STAWAG, BEB GmbH and Thüga. Together we develop innovative services, products and concepts in the fields of smart grids and e-mobility. SMART/LAB has been one of the most important players in the field of e-mobility in Europe since the beginning of the decade. The focus has always been on the networking of the charging infrastructure, with the aim of creating a nationwide network in Germany and interoperability with other market players throughout Europe. The smartlab pays particular attention to the user-friendliness of the mobility concepts, which is why it draws on practical experience from government- funded research projects.


About Thüga

Thüga Aktiengesellschaft (Thüga), headquartered in Munich, is an investment and specialist consultancy company with roots in the municipal sector. Founded in 1867, it is a minority shareholder in around 100 municipal energy and water companies throughout Germany. The respective majority shareholders are cities and municipalities. Together with its partners, Thüga forms the largest municipal association of local and regional energy and water supply companies in Germany - the Thüga Group.

Their common goal is to shape the future of municipal energy and water supply. With its more than 200 employees, Thüga continues to develop the Group, supports municipal companies with consulting and service companies and thus contributes to the competitiveness of its partners. With their local and regional brands, they are responsible for active market development: In total, the Thüga partners with their more than 22,000 employees supply almost five million customers with electricity, two million customers with natural gas and one million customers with drinking water across Germany. In 2021, they will have generated sales of around 30 billion euros.

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.  

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