Currently reading: Pay-as-you-go for electric cars
Charging will be billed in similar way to mobile phones

Electricity for the new breed of zero-emissions cars will soon be billed in the same way as mobile phone tariffs, under a new system developed by Elektromotive.

Users will no longer pay a blanket subscription for as much electricity as they can use; instead, they will choose from a number of billing options. These include pay-as-you-go via a personalised keyfob, payment via text message or recorded message.

Costs could also be added to utility bills or taken through number plate recognition.

Elektromotive’s EBConnect systems can identify energy use and bill customers accordingly. The firm says power providers can use the technology to package electricity into different tariffs, offering incentives such as free minutes. The system will be installed in all of Elektromotive’s Elektrobay charging stations.

In London’s Westminster, anyone can pay £75 annually for access to a street charger and get unlimited electricity. But Elektromotive’s Greg Simmons said EBConnect is ready to go and that is "inevitable" that people will be charged in that way.

"Electricity companies don’t give it away for nothing," he told Autocar. "This technology allows businesses to build commercial models out of selling electricity."

This would include setting up different tariffs, and with more people using electric vehicles and more companies getting involved, electricity could become cheaper on the street than in the home.

Elektromotive has also unveiled a three-phase 'Fast Charge' Elektrobay prototype, which would cut charge times. The firm says improvements in both cells and battery systems are needed, but a full charge for a car like a Smart ED could take just an hour.

Ollie Stallwood

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