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Old 24th February 2024, 16:11   #1
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A comparison of RFID cards for DC fast-charging EVs in India

Hi Team BHPians,

After seeing Team-BHP electric car owners' reviews & experiences with EV charging stations across India, I would like to know what their experience has been using the Radio Frequency cards (RFID) provided by companies that offer DC fast charging (DCFC) for EV vehicles?

I own a Citroen EC3 and have clocked about 6000 km on the Odo and have used DC fast charging nearly 35 times. Although I have used the apps offered by various companies to initiate DC fast-charging initially, of late, I’ve procured various RFIDs from these companies and have used them for charging my car. Given below is my experience of acquiring and using these various RFIDs:

My first RFID that I got was from ZEON. It’s small, the size of a keychain and comes with a small tag. Like most companies, Zeon offers the tag through its app. It costs 330₹ and the app allows payment for the same using regular upi, cards and net banking. The card is couriered to your address within a week. Once received the card has to be registered through the app and then it’s ready for use. I’ve used the card more than 7 times, and it has never failed. You can just plug in the CCS2 connector to the car, choose RFID option on the screen and start charging by tapping the card on the RFID sensor on the machine. To stop, choose “stop charging” on the screen and tap the RFID card once more and the charger will stop charging the vehicle. This RFID has been my most consistent one and has never failed me.

The TATA Power EZ app was the next one I got. While applying for the RFID, the app opens a website which requires a re-login to purchase the card. The same was sent by courier and reached within a week. The card was already registered with my wallet by the time I received it. I had used a TATA DCFC once before I received the RFID, using the mobile app. This was on the old Madras Road from Bengaluru to Arcot and the mobile application worked just fine. I then had to use the RFID once on NH 544, at a “Café coffee day” premises at Kangayaplayam. The charger looked like a TATA Fast charger, but it was not listed or did not show up on the TATA Power EZ App. The screen on the charger also did not show an RFID option. However, after plugging in the connector and tapping the RFID, the charging was initiated without any problems. The app did not show the amount of money deducted from the wallet and the units consumed for charging till about 2 days after.

GOEC is one of the best companies offering DCFC in Kerala. The GOEC app has a similar interface like that of ZEON and we can order an RFID by clicking on the RFID option and filling a form within the app. The RFID costs 370₹. It comes preregistered before dispatch and no other action is needed from the user end. I had an opportunity to try it at one of the DC Fast chargers at Lulu Mall Kochi. Unfortunately, the RFID did not initiate charging and I had to use the app to restart the process. The second time was at Hotel Evergreen international at Pathanamthitta. There it seemed to work without any problems.

STATIQ sent me an RFID card after nearly 8 weeks of booking the card. The customer-care center kept saying “it’ll be on its way soon”, but I received the card after considerable delay. The only time I used it was at “Café Udupi Ruchi” on the Krishnagiri Chennai highway beyond Arcot and somehow it did not work. There was an issue with the charger too and I had to use my App to initiate the charging cycle. Only a top up of the Wallet in the app was required to buy the card. In other words, it is free. STATIQ also gives a free 100₹ top up of your account after your first use of the app and more recently a 1200₹ worth top up spread over 12 months after a “sticker campaign”.

ChargeZone offers a free RFID card after downloading the app. I don’t remember how I applied for the same. I may have used the customer care number and ordered it over the phone. I have not used a ChargeZone charger to charge my car yet. Most of these are situated in five-star hotels and I do not frequent these places in most cities.

RELUX chargers which are also abundant in Tamil Nadu was the last company to send me an RFID card. This was booked after sending a WhatsApp message to their customer care number. This company needed constant reminding and multiple calls to send a card. They claimed that the cards are available at the restaurants which offer DC fast charging on the highways. This however was not true as the cashiers sitting at counters of these restaurants had not heard of such a thing before. The card costed me 300₹ and looks like a debit card and was activated only after a call back to their customer care. I have not had the opportunity to use it yet.

JIO BP does not offer RFIDs to customers like us who own a single BEV. They have kept the cards only for fleet operators or for people who own more than 6 EVs.

In summary, although RFID cards for DC fast charging is a great option, there are few instances (IMO) where their benefit has only been ostensible. If they were as seamless as they claimed, fast charging would be just a plug-n-play affair for EV owners. I suppose as of now, it’s an alternate way to initiate fast charging of an EV if the phone connectivity is poor or the app is down while attempting to charge a car. Having said that, the ZEON RFID has worked every time without fail.

A comparison of RFID cards for DC fast-charging EVs in India-img_0784.jpeg


You can also read about my experience of owning the Citroen eC3 on Team BHP on a thread titled “Owner’s take on the Citroen eC3”.
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/elect...-electric.html (Owner's take on the Citroen eC3 Electric)

Last edited by Rehaan : 26th February 2024 at 08:52. Reason: Linking to original thread :)
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Old 25th February 2024, 12:08   #2
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Re: BHPians experience on EV Charging Stations across India (especially non-metros)

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Originally Posted by mathewanil View Post
Having said that, the ZEON RFID has worked every time without fail.
This is so true. I have been using the Zeon RFID for a year now and it has always given consistent result on Zeon's ABB chargers.

Having said that, last week I tried to initiate charging on a Zeon Exicom charger (60KW) which I think was recently installed. The location was A2B, Tindivanam. Here, the RFID did not work seamlessly and I had to initiate charging finally by scanning the QR code.

Mine is a 2022 MG ZS EV, btw.

Last edited by Turbanator : 25th February 2024 at 14:46. Reason: Fixed quote
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Old 25th February 2024, 14:30   #3
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Re: BHPians experience on EV Charging Stations across India (especially non-metros)

+1 to Zeon RFID.
It has worked for all Zeon chargers from Bangalore to Pune as well as to Kerala , TN.
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Old 26th February 2024, 12:36   #4
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Re: A comparison of RFID cards for DC fast-charging EVs in India

Hope they bring all players onto a common Rupay based network for easy payment, like the NCMC or UPI. A common QR code/ Paywave to manage balances will be easy.
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Old 26th February 2024, 13:13   #5
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Re: A comparison of RFID cards for DC fast-charging EVs in India

Quick question - so you have to have some balance in all these cards / accounts, as one would not be sure which one will get used next ?

Wishful thinking, they should just try and find a way to deduct money from fastag or perhaps this Park+ system - apparently similar to fastag and useful to pay for parking at malls, etc.
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Old 26th February 2024, 13:45   #6
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Re: A comparison of RFID cards for DC fast-charging EVs in India

The need of the day is definitely to have a UPI based payment option for EV chargers. It creates a lot of inconvenience to download and specially top up each company's wallet. It might be so that I need to use x company's charger just once but I have to load their wallet by a minimum amount of Rs 300/- the balance never to be used again, unnecessarily blocking funds in each wallet. Comments and opinion please
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Old 26th February 2024, 14:50   #7
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Re: A comparison of RFID cards for DC fast-charging EVs in India

Quote:
Originally Posted by mathewanil View Post

In summary, although RFID cards for DC fast charging is a great option, there are few instances (IMO) where their benefit has only been ostensible. If they were as seamless as they claimed, fast charging would be just a plug-n-play affair for EV owners. I suppose as of now, it’s an alternate way to initiate fast charging of an EV if the phone connectivity is poor or the app is down while attempting to charge a car. Having said that, the ZEON RFID has worked every time without fail.
While the Zeon RFID is good, the best experience with charging is when Autocharge is enabled. Simply plug your car in and magically the session starts.

This happens by mapping your car's VIN to your CPO account where you have a payment method associated.

Chargezone also has Autocharge enabled which saved me when their app was showing a charger to be down but it started charging. You can enable this on the Chargezone app.

For Zeon, you will have to call customer care and ask them to enable Autocharge on the backend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ALTIMAed View Post
The need of the day is definitely to have a UPI based payment option for EV chargers. It creates a lot of inconvenience to download and specially top up each company's wallet. It might be so that I need to use x company's charger just once but I have to load their wallet by a minimum amount of Rs 300/- the balance never to be used again, unnecessarily blocking funds in each wallet. Comments and opinion please
While I understand the pain for the users, one must also understand the plight of CPOs.

Currently, the EV charging business has still not hit a scale where it is profitable given the large capital investments, maintenance, payments on and off the book to discoms.

Having tech infrastructure built out to work with myriad platforms or UPI post charging session will push up costs even more given the average salary of a software engineer.

CPOs are going towards integrating with wallet partners like Paytm and Amazon Pay Wallet. That way money is not blocked on random apps plus the CPO doesn't have to burn money building and maintaining payment infrastructure

Last edited by shyampsunder : 26th February 2024 at 14:59. Reason: Multi quote
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Old 26th February 2024, 15:44   #8
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Re: A comparison of RFID cards for DC fast-charging EVs in India

RFID cards or tags are best companion for EV charging, it saved my day at places where network either gave up on me or phone died down with poor attention to phone battery (with all attention on car battery!) during my EV road trips.

Zeon works best and the rest of them were reliable too largely. I believe Autocharge is the most ideal state to reach with UPI mandate in place. Second best thing to have is NMC like common Rupay card valid across CPOs, unsure why they are not considering this option already.
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Old 26th February 2024, 17:48   #9
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Re: A comparison of RFID cards for DC fast-charging EVs in India

Slightly off topic, why do these service providers need to make it so complicated. What stops them from charging a traditional credit card? Take a pre-auth for some limit and finally deduct only the amount that has been used for charging. It's pretty similar to what we do at any hotel. I don't understand this unholy urge by every service provider to use a custom payment model.
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Old 26th February 2024, 18:26   #10
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Re: A comparison of RFID cards for DC fast-charging EVs in India

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Originally Posted by SR-71 View Post
Slightly off topic, why do these service providers need to make it so complicated. What stops them from charging a traditional credit card? Take a pre-auth for some limit and finally deduct only the amount that has been used for charging. It's pretty similar to what we do at any hotel. I don't understand this unholy urge by every service provider to use a custom payment model.
Not everyone has a credit card is the first problem. Otherwise as you said, it's the simplest flow.

The whole area around automatic charges to debit or credit card without PIN has been made very hard post RBI rule changes. Plus mandates can fail or the user can cancel them during the charging session. That will leave the CPO with a lot of bad debt.

Unfortunately I have heard of the kind of abuse these CPOs face, so any system which relies on post facto payments needs to be bullet proof to tackle abuse.

Simplest solution is for the industry to move towards open wallet based debits like Paytm, PhonePe and Amazon pay.
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Old 26th February 2024, 18:39   #11
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Re: A comparison of RFID cards for DC fast-charging EVs in India

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Quick question - so you have to have some balance in all these cards / accounts, as one would not be sure which one will get used next ?

That is true @Aashishnb. We do have to maintain some balance in all these Wallets. However, the amount can be as little as Rs 100. You can recharge the Wallet even after initiating charging. The only down side is this may not happen in areas of poor phone connectivity or when the respective server is down.

In Kerala that other major player other than GOEC, Zeon and RELUX is ChargeMod. This charging service allows you to charge at Government owned EV charging locations owned by KSEB. Being govt. owned also means poor reliability and bad service. A few private owned chargers also come under this aggregator. They have a PREPAID scheme. That’s a finite number of units like 35 KWH valid for 30 days. If the units are not used up within that time they will lapse. However, you can Top-up the amount before the units run out if required. This is like going back to our early cell phone usage in the late 90s. ChargeMOD has also recently offered an RFID solution and it costs a whopping 999 Rs.
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Old 6th March 2024, 22:17   #12
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Re: A comparison of RFID cards for DC fast-charging EVs in India

To be fair ChargeMOD gives ₹999 credit if you order RFID card. So in effect it’s free.

But I had a problem with GOEC recently. When I used RFID, it failed to activate. When I contacted the customer support, they said I’ve to pay ₹100 annual fee to reactivate the card.
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