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Forget Smart Cards: This Electric Car Charging Station Is Coin-Operated

 
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Loose Change

Loose Change

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Ask any electric car owner to tell you about public charging stations, and they’ll likely show you the wallet full of smart cards and RFID tags.

That’s because most electric car charging stations, with a few exceptions, only give access to pre-registered members. 

But what if you could pay for your charge in the same way you pay for parking, with cold, hard cash?

It might sound like a simple idea, but we’ve just learned that it wasn’t until earlier this year that the world’s first mass-produced coin-operated payment machine specifically designed for high-power electric car charging stations finally went on sale. 

According to Japan For Sustainability, Fuji Electric Co. of Japan, producer of many products including a range of rapid, direct-current charging stations, began to offer the optional coin-operated accessory to retail customers back in April. 

Fast Charging 2011 Nissan Leaf

Fast Charging 2011 Nissan Leaf

Enlarge Photo

Designed to fit on any of Fuji’s existing charging stations, the unit allows electric car owners without a smart card to pay with coins instead of a credit card. 

Just like a coin-operated washing machine at a Laundromat, a vending machine, or a parking meter, the charging station owner can set their own pricing scheme, while customers pay on a per-kilowatt-hour basis for the electricity they use. 

The result is a readily-accessible charging station that can be used 24-hours a day, requires no smart card, or giving your credit card details out over the telephone. 

Sadly however, the coin-operated addition isn’t cheap.

Electric-car charging network cards, photo by Patrick Connor, Portland

Electric-car charging network cards, photo by Patrick Connor, Portland

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Japan For Sustainability reports that the optional extra costs an additional $7,317 on top of the price of one of its charging stations. 

With so much of modern society moving away from cash, do you think charging stations that take dollar bills and loose change in payment for charging your car are a good idea? Do you prefer the wallet of smart cards, or think there's another solution? 

Or do you find that, like us, you never carry any spare change around? 

Let us know in the Comments below.

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Comments (4)
  1. Should take Mastercard and Visa just like everything else.
     
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  2. Japan is simply not a "credit card" society. In Japan, other than tourist stores and major department stores, virtually all the smaller businesses are "cash only." Using "credit" is just not part of the national ethos there for day to day purchases.
     
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  3. If they could get the equipment cost down, this could make a lot of sense.
     
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  4. A few things: Japan is still very much a cash society. Almost anything can be bought from a coin-op vending machine. Their change has high value. The 500 yen coin is worth roughly five dollars.
     
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