There are multiple ways you can charge your electric vehicle – three-pin plug, dedicated home charging point, or public charging network.
And with different charger types, come different methods of charging. All home EV chargers offer smart charging via an app. Occasionally, others offer plug-and-charge mode. And some offer control through the use of RFID cards.
But what is an RFID card in relation to EV charging? Why do some chargers use them, and others don’t? Do I need an RFID card to charge my EV?
Find all the answers in this blog.
Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) cards – or sometimes referred to as EV charging cards, tags, or keys – are used to stop and start EV charging sessions via radio-frequency technology. RFID cards can come with home EV chargers as a smart feature but are more common with public or workplace EV chargers.
To use, you simply scan your RFID card over the identification area on your chosen charger to start and then tap again to stop your charging session. Think of it like a key card that you use to gain entry at work or the gym.
RFID cards, despite their name, come in different shapes and sizes. Most resemble a contactless credit card, but others do opt for sleeker looks – like the Easee One key below.
No, you don’t need an RFID card to charge your electric car.
While RFID cards offer more convenience as you scan and charge, there are alternative ways to charge your EV, whether dedicated home, public or workplace EV chargers. In fact, some EV chargers do not offer the ability to use an RFID card at all.
Contrary to what one might think, it’s common for home electric vehicle chargers not to come with RFID cards. Most units rely on their advanced smart charging apps to stop/stop charging. That being said, there are select chargers on the market that come with RFID functionality. The VCHRGD Seven, for example, comes with two RFID cards upon purchase. Other home chargers offer RFID keys at a small additional cost, such as the Easee One.
Using an EV charger that has RFID card functionality built-in has its perks. Firstly, an additional layer of security is added to your unit. How? By setting up user-specific cards and only allowing those who own them to scan and charge, you are blocking unwanted users from plugging and charging.
There’s no need to stress about EV charger theft if your home charger doesn’t have the RFID card feature, though. There are other ways to protect your unit, such as taking advantage of a Cable Lock feature to lock the cable from unwanted use (if your home charger has this functionality).
Moreover, RFID cards aid in ease of use. Due to the simple nature of the tap and charge, RFIDs are better for those who aren’t app-oriented – or technology savvy.
But while these cards come in handy due to the added convenience, with the introduction of the Smart Home Charger Regulations, you will have more opportunities to customise and manage your EV charging via a manufacturer app than via an RFID card, typically resulting in cheaper and sometimes greener charging.
For example, with the Indra Smart PRO, you can input your energy tariff information into the Indra App, and your Indra will automatically start charging at the cheapest rate. Alternatively, with the Ohme ePod, you can find out when the electricity in the grid is at its greenest, and therefore charge your EV with more renewable energy.
That being said, if convenience and speed are what you are after, opting for an EV charger with an RFID function – such as the VCHRGD or Easee One – may be the best choice for you.
Public EV chargers are typically located at motorway services, public car parks and supermarkets. These public charging points offer different charging speeds, catering to fast charging and rapid charging at rates of 7kW, 22kW and higher.
To pay for these public EV charging sessions, you will either need a smartphone app that matches the charging network – such as BP Pulse and Shell Recharge – an RFID card, or a credit card. Not all public charging networks offer RFID cards, though. For example, Pod point scrapped the use of RFID cards with their public network back in 2015. And unfortunately, no EV charging stations in the UK allow the use of cash as payment.
Of course, free charging stations can still be found across the UK. However, as the adoption of electric vehicles increases, public EV charging networks tend to charge for each session. That being said, if you use Zap-Map and filter the results, you’ll be notified of any free charging points near you.
In terms of benefits, RFID cards make life easier when public charging. With a simple tap, you can start, stop, and pay for the charging session instead of having to faff around with payment or apps – which is worse when on a tight schedule or if there’s a queue behind you.
For ultimate ease, some charging networks offer a single RFID card or app that can be used at multiple public EV chargers instead of needing different apps and cards for different networks, adding another layer of convenience. Not only that, but by only having one RFID card, you won’t be overstuffing your wallet!
If your home EV charger has the RFID card function, your unit will either come with the cards as standard, or it will require an additional cost. Either way, when enquiring, you can always ask the question if it’s a feature you’re interested in.
For a public EV charger, RFIDs can be free, but typically they come at a cost as well. Usually, you can request a card via the network website or through their app. An important thing to note is that before you can use your card, you’ll have to pre-register your RFID card and manage your account online, which involves topping up your card with funds.
As previously mentioned, there are RFID cards and apps that provide easy access and payment on a number of the UK’s public charging point networks, such as:
But in our opinion – excluding home chargers- the best RFID card for public EV charging is the Octopus Electrocard from Octopus Electric Universe.
The Octopus Electrocard gives you access to 381,606 public chargers across the UK and Europe, meaning you don’t have to worry about different apps and cards bulking up your wallet – you have one card to manage them all. Simply tap and charge.
Anybody can sign up for an Octopus Electrocard, or the Octopus Electric Universe through their app, although it does integrate with your home energy supply if you are an Octopus Energy customer.
There are no subscriptions or transaction fees when charging. Exclusive discounts can be offered too, making it more convenient and cost-effective. It’s even better news if you’re already an Octopus customer – for Octopus Go customers, you receive 5% off across any public chargers that are part of the Electric Universe, and Intelligent Octopus customers receive 8% off!
What’s more, you can register a free personalised RFID card when you sign up.
All in all, the Electrocard from Octopus Electric Universe is one RFID card you’ll want in your wallet.
Wanting to find out the best EV charging apps available? Or are you interested in learning the unspoken rules of public EV charging etiquette? Keep up to date with all things electric with our blog and through our social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Alternatively, if you’re interested in any of our home EV chargers with RFID functionality, please call us today on 03333 44 96 99.
This type of electric charger has it's own cable to charge your car.
This type of electric charger requires a seperate cable to charge your car.
Spread over a 60 month period.
Tenants and homeowners are eligible for finance.
You decide the amount of months.
Minimum of £1000.
We will contact you to process the credit application. Approval is subject to application, financial circumstances and borrowing history. 13.9% APR representative. T&Cs apply.
Your order is not confirmed until your application has been approved.
We lay SWA cable laid at 600mm deep, with a protective cable warning tape laid 150mm above the cable. These are laid on a sand or sifted sand soil bed then backfilled.
We position overhead cables at a minimum height of 3.5m and are run along a catenary wire. The cable run should not be accessible to vehicles.
Our instant price is fixed if it falls within our standard installation package plus any additions that you have selected (extra cabling for example). This package covers the majority of homes in the UK. Before we undertake your installation we will carry out a digital survey to check that nothing has been missed. After reviewing the survey results some additional work may be required in order to complete your installation safely and to the required standards. If this is the case, we will contact you well before the installation date and advise the cost of any required work. You can then continue with your installation, or alternatively we will refund you in full if you do not want to proceed.
Included in our standard installation is :
• Fitting of a single phase charge point to a brick or plaster wall or other suitable permanent structure
• Up to 10 metres of cable, run and neatly clipped to the wall between the electricity supply meter / distribution board and the charge point.
• Routing of the cable through a drilled hole in a wall up to 500mm (20 inches) thick if this is needed.
• The fitting and testing of electrical connections and protections required for the charge point.
• An additional three way consumer unit, if required
• Installation of a Type A RCBO in an RCBO enclosure
• Up to 3 metres of plastic trunking to conceal interior wiring.
• An O-pen earth protection device if the charge point requires it. (This is NOT an earth rod)
• Up to 4 hours of labour from your installer to complete the work.
• Electrical testing of the whole installation.
• Handover and setup of the charge point and any app that may be needed.
Not included in our standard installation (additional work) :
• Where the installation requires additional cabling over and above the amount you have told us about.
• Upgrade/replacement of the main incoming supply fuse where the local DNO (eg Northern Powergrid) would need to attend site.
• If the charge point is to be mounted on a post/pedestal rather than an existing wall and where you have not selected a post as an extra cost option in your order.
• Installation of a charge point to a three phase supply.
• Where gas and water mains bonding (earthing) is not in place at your property. If this is not in place, additional work would be required before installation of the charge point.
• Any groundwork that has not been selected during the order process.
A Surge Protection Device is not included in our standard installation.
What else you need to know :
• On the day of installation, please ensure that the area around your consumer unit (fuse box), incoming electricity supply meter and proposed charge point location (including where the cable is expected to be run) is clear and free of obstructions.
• We will need your WiFi password as part of the installation process in order to connect your charge point to the internet. Please have this available for the installer. Details will not be kept.
• The charge point must be on your own designated off road parking.
• The charger will be fixed in line with current guidelines at a height where it cannot be hit by a vehicle.
• Our installers are not able to enter loft spaces; lift floorboards or flooring; take apart any furniture of work above a height of 2m. If you anticipate that any of this may be required, then please contact us and we can discuss in more detail and provide you with a quotation.
• Should there be extreme weather conditions our installers may not be able to continue with you installation if it is not safe to do so (for example flooding). They will always do their best to complete the work where they can.
If you have any questions then please contact our customer service team who will be happy to help. Please also read our terms and conditions.