O2 hopes to help you find electric-car charging bays from your phone. And pay too.

O2 hopes to help you find electric-car charging bays from your phone. And pay too.

Back in July, Chargemaster, the European electric vehicle charging station providers, announced the launch of POLAR, the UK’s first privately-funded nationwide electric vehicle (EV) charging network.

The initial roll-out of POLAR is to be across 100 towns and cities, providing 4,000 electric vehicle charging bays by the end of 2012. In short, the plan it to help bring electric cars to the many towns that weren’t previously equipped for them, and is designed to build on the existing Government-backed Plugged in Places (PiPs) programme which is only focused on eight locations in the UK.

Telefonica UK, the company behind the UK’s mobile phone network O2, has partnered up with Chargemaster to collaborate on the tech inside its charging stations. But what could a mobile phone network possibly bring to a company operating in the electric vehicle space?

Well, here the vision in a nutshell. In a blog post earlier today, O2 said:

“Imagine a fuel station that knew who you were as you pulled up on the lot. Imagine a pump that could let you pay there and then, no need to traipse into the shop and queue. And imagine if it was eco-friendly, dispensing electricity rather than carbon-stuffed petrol.”

Telefonica made the initial announcement a couple of weeks back, and it will be providing the machine-to-machine (M2M) technology that will let the charging bays connect to a centralized hub, using embedded SIM-cards. This means they can communicate with mission control across a mobile network, letting users ‘pre-authorize’ themselves to help speed-up the process as they roll-up to a charging bay.

But it has also now revealed where the link-up between these two companies could be heading in the future, noting that one possibility could be a feature for finding the nearest charging station from your phone, then paying with your handset there and then too. Gilli Coston, Head of M2M at Telefonica UK, said:

“We are committed to bringing products and services to market that help our customers live more sustainable lives. Electric cars represent a huge potential growth area and working with Chargemaster we hope to develop a range of services to help our customers and to boost this fledgling market.”

So, a sign of things to come perhaps, as companies look to capitalize on the growing popularity of electric cars across the country.

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