Please Note: Project & Website are still in heavy development.
Werenode is providing a solution to make electrical vehicle charging more efficient and auditable with the help of the Tezos blockchain. The project is to be built on Tezos and an ICO of some form could be launched for the project in the last months of 2020 for the utility token. The utility token is expected to be called Werecoin and can be used by people charging, alongside Euros.
The Github for the project can be found here and was only set up on June 3rd, 2020.
It is a technology that can allow individuals to share their own private EV chargers with others during times they are not using them, enabling them to make money or an ROI on their infrastructure. This method is also known as ‘P2P charging’.
According to BBC News one of the 5 key challenges to the adoption of electric vehicles is backing the right technology:
Companies are afraid to make moves in fear of being too early, or too late.
The article states: “Acting too soon could mean betting on the wrong horse. Waiting too long could encourage more people into hybrid vehicles, which are less dependent on charging infrastructure, but still use fossil fuels.”
The Werenode solution helps to avoid this cost of laying the infrastructure by enabling private owners to make use of P2P charging and make money on their own infrastructure. This would also solve the ‘range anxiety’ problem often attributed to Electric Vehicles and detailed here. It will also help to bridge the gap in infrastructure until more powerful and efficient commercial chargers can be put in place, by leveraging private infrastructure.
Once the commercial infrastructure is also in place the technology can then be used for auditing, transparency, and other features too. It also enables software future-proofing, not only by utilizing blockchain technology, but by also using a blockchain technology that can easily upgrade itself to match the requirements of the projects built upon it.
Indeed, the Werenode project outlines a need for the project here: “The charging point operators (CPO), mobility services providers (MSP) and the users need transparency and security for their payment framework. A decentralized blockchain technology is the simple way to design the robust certificate management that the EV charging infrastructure needs. Our ecosystem of smart contracts is the right architecture to face the technical challenge of new features like smart charge or vehicle to grid (V2G)”.
Vehicle to grid is a technology that allows energy to be transferred back to the power grid from the battery of an electric vehicle. A technology such as Werenode would be able to facilitate this process by providing the user with a transparent view of how their vehicles excess energy is being utilized and with a visible/auditable view of payments back to their accounts.
Here is a video proof of concept of the project:
The project has been masterminded by Dr. Benoît Maïsseu who is presently the general manager for Electric Vehicles at the Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi Alliance, a French/Japanese automobile giant partnership, which together sell 1 in every 9 vehicles worldwide. The Nissan Leaf was the 3rd best selling Electrical Vehicle in 2019, and the Renault Zoe was 8th – the Tesla model 3 came first. Overall the Nissan Leaf is the best selling electric vehicle overall, selling over 409,000 vehicles since its launch in December 2010. The Renault Zoe has sold over 133,000 from its launch in 2012 to 2018.
There are actually 10 major brands in the alliance, some others including Infinity, Dacia, and Datsun. The alliance is a strategic partnership designed to facilitate and promote innovation and it represents one of the worlds leading electric vehicle manufacturing groups. Together, the alliance represents possibly the biggest competition to Tesla in the EV space. The investment arm of the alliance is called ‘Alliance Ventures‘ and has up to $1 billion budget to invest in projects up until 2023.
Dr. Benoît Maïsseu is also the Editor in Chief of the academically recognized International Journal of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles, which is ran through Inderscience. The Werenode project has been developed with the assistance of Edukera, notably Benoit Rognier. Edukera is already known to the Tezos community and has already received a grant from the Tezos Foundation to develop the smart contract language ‘Archetype’.
The Archetype language was developed specifically to ensure highly secure smart contract creation. As the Archetype website states: “Archetype is a domain-specific language to develop Smart Contracts on the Tezos blockchain, with a specific focus on contract security.” Edukera embeds coq proof assistant, developed by Inria and it allows the properties of smart contracts written in OCaml to be proven.
On the relationship with Werenode, Edukera state: “We have met with Werenode, founded by electric vehicle experts, through the Tezos community. With our technical blockchain expertise and their vision for the future of electric vehicles, we wish altogether to transform the approach to the EV charging industry.”
The Werenode project is written in the Archetype language.
Werenode describes its project as “building an ecosystem to simplify the electric vehicle charging network development. The new EV charging standards like ISO15118 have been designed for advanced features like smart charge, smart plug or V2G.
This current certificate approach with classical admin roles is leading to complicated interfaces management. We use the blockchain to produce the user and charging point certificates in a decentralized way, removing the need of an admin player.”
Werenode will commercialize their solution: “as an app allowing mainly two features 1/ to pay for ev charging 2/ to create your own charging point, allowing the user to share it easily. This app will use the smart contracts we have developed to easily ensure payment and roaming. Hence our revenue flow will come from payment fees.”
When looking at the team, 3 team members have either worked or are still working at Renault. These include the creator Dr. Benoît Maïsseu, François Colet an innovation project manager at Renault and Gaetan Cadero, formerly of Renault and now director of operations at Chronopost, a member of La Poste Group, who also owns DPD.
This is a project that is under active development and any links provided will only show the outlines of the project. However, the caliber and experience of this team, including the highly skilled Edukera developers this project make it one to look out for in the future.
The links to the Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi alliance are also very interesting as this alliance can be considered to be one of the top two players in the EV vehicle space at the time of writing in terms of size and production.
Tezos is already being taken seriously by other vehicle innovation players such as Envited, BMW, DLT Mobi, and Chorus Mobility amongst others and this foray into the blockchain space by highly skilled individuals with links to companies who have sold the most EV vehicles in the world to date are encouraging.
The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi partnership was originally part of the DLT Mobi network, however, they now appear to be part of the Maniv Mobility Network, alongside BMW, Hyundai and Shell. Maniv Mobility operates as a VC fund to drive vehicle innovations. According to Techcrunch, Maniv Mobility’s portfolio includes: “Owlcam, peer-to-peer car-sharing company Turo, teleoperations startup Phantom Auto, autonomous vehicle-focused chipmaker Hailo, shared electric moped company Revel and in-vehicle software management firm Aurora Labs. “
It’s interesting to note that this project was being built using Archetype, a programming language aimed to facilitate formal verification and developed by a company that embeds Coq Proof Assistant to prove properties, a technology also used by NASA and developed by Inria the creators of OCaml in 1996.
This suggests that any technology created in this sector will have to be ultra-secure to meet the standards set, even when it comes to EV charging. This is where Tezos has a distinct advantage over its competitors enabling institutional-grade security to ensure the reputations of companies and the rights/property of users stay intact.
It also has the ability to upgrade, which in a market of uncertainty, such as electric vehicle technology/infrastructure is an added bonus, as it means the underlying software can be upgraded in line with any advancements in infrastructure technology. The underlying software powering EV technology could also be the driving force of overall EV infrastructure innovation when it becomes clear what is possible.
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