Blockchain could help enhance charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EV), suggests a new University of Waterloo study.
According to the new blockchain-oriented charging system study, there is a lack of trust among charging service providers, property owners and EV owners.
An open blockchain platform could help remedy this as all parties will have access to the data and can see if it has been tampered with.
For instance, a blockchain-oriented charging system could allow EV owners to see if they are being overcharged, and property owners if they are being underpaid.
The Waterloo study – spearheaded by PhD candidate Christian Gorenflo, and supervised by professors Srinivasan Keshav and Lukasz Golab – was undertaken in collaboration with an EV charging service provider.
The provider is well versed in working with property owners to install EV supply equipment that is used by EV owners for a fee.
The revenue stream from these charging stations is then shared between the charging service provider and each property owner.
Since the EV supply equipment is operated by the charging service provider, property owners have no alternative but to trust the provider to compensate them fairly for the electricity used.
The Waterloo case study believes that blockchain could help remedy this, and the researchers have identified three necessary steps to incorporate blockchain technology into an energy system.
The first step involves identifying the involved parties and their trust relations.
According to the researchers, if the level of trust in a relation is insufficient to achieve the application’s goal or if it restricts an action necessary to reach that goal, this should be recorded as a trust issue.
The second step involves designing a minimal blockchain system, including smart contracts, that resolves the trust issues identified in the first step.
If parts of a legacy system need to be replaced, the new system should closely mimic existing interfaces so that dependencies can continue to work with minimal modifications.
With the trust-mitigating blockchain in place, the final step involves migrating the rest of the system iteratively over time.
According to the researchers, this allows the business model to eventually grow from a legacy/blockchain hybrid into a truly decentralized solution.
Image and content: Pixabay/University of Waterloo