To push electric cars, Seoul rolls out portable chargers with RFID

The chargers allow drivers to juice up their batteries at residential parking lots rather than dedicated stations

The EV-Line is a portable electric vehicle charging cable fitted with RFID tags that would allow drivers to charge their cars almost anywhere through standard power outlets.

The EV-Line is a portable electric vehicle charging cable fitted with RFID tags that would allow drivers to charge their cars almost anywhere through standard power outlets.

Seoul is trying to put one of the world's highest concentrations of electric vehicles (EVs) on its roads with a project that would let drivers charge their vehicles in residential parking lots and other everyday locations.

The city is planning to give out electric charger cables fitted with RFID readers that would allow drivers to recharge their batteries through standard power outlets at 100,000 locations -- a huge increase from current numbers.

Central to the project is a charger cable called the EV-Line, developed by Gyeonggi-based Power Cube. The cable has an RFID reader than can scan an RFID tag attached to power outlets in parking lots for apartments, offices and elsewhere. It also has a 3G wireless module.

The system then transmits the driver's identity, along with the time, place and amount of electricity used, back to Power Cube. The user gets billed later and Power Cube in turn pays the national electricity provider, Korea Electric Power.

The setup is designed to make recharging easy for drivers, who can top up their batteries at a convenient time and location instead of having to go to a dedicated recharging station.

"The biggest problem in Korea is securing charging spots in cramped parking areas in apartments," said Shin Kyu-sik, director of Power Cube. Nearly 84 percent of Seoul residents live in apartments as opposed to individual houses with a garage.

According to government data, there are 911 EVs and 935 charging stations in Seoul. Nationwide, there are 3,044 EVs and 3,201 stations.

Most of these vehicles, though, are owned by public-sector entities. The Seoul Metropolitan Government wants to encourage private ownership and will provide electric car buyers with the EV-Line charger for free.

It aims to secure 10,000 designated spots for EV-Line users by the end of the year and 100,000 by 2018. To do that it will have to negotiate permissions with landlords and get safety approvals.

The EV-Line costs about 1 million won (about US$917) per device, which is a sixth of the cost of building a vehicle charging station, said Han Myoung-sil, a deputy director with the Environment Ministry's green transportation team.

"The portable chargers could be an option for consumers because of the affordability and convenience, but they might not replace regular charging stations because we still don't know how smoothly they'll work in reality," Han said, adding users' data privacy and security are also a concern.

One downside is the time it takes to juice up a battery. The EV-Line charges at about 3.3 kilowatts per hour, so it takes six to eight hours to fully charge a car battery, compared with a regular public EV charging location, which charges at 8 kilowatts per hour and takes half the time, Shin said. Users can keep tabs on the charging progress with a mobile app.

The Environment Ministry has been encouraging residents to adopt more environmentally friendly cars since 2011. It has distributed free electric cars and motorbikes to public workers and made them available for rent by the public. Participating EV makers include Kia Motors, Renault Samsung, General Motors and BMW.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags consumer electronicsPower CubeKorea Electric Powerenvironment

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Yewon Kang

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?