A San Francisco startup Oxygen Initiative in partnership with the $20 bln German energy company Innogy SE is introducing a Blockchain-based platform for drivers in the US.

Essentially, the Oxygen Initiative-Innogy SE joint Blockchain platform “Share&Charge” enables drivers to process virtually every operation related to clean energy-based automobiles. These include allowing drivers to share their charging stations, pay for tolls and charge electric cars.

According to the Oxygen Initiative founder and CEO Stephen G. Davis, Blockchain technology significantly reduces operating costs which were previously handled by Innogy SE when the corporation was using a centralized database overseen by its employees in a sequence of time-consuming manual processes.

Davis stated:

"E-mobility technologies are ushering in advancements in transportation that could foster the adoption of clean-tech autonomous vehicles (AVs) and electric vehicles (EVs), which could bring the dream of less congestion and pollution, shorter commutes and lower operating costs into reality. We're excited to do our part by introducing Blockchain technology for the mobility space to the United States, starting with access and payment solutions for electric charging stations.”

An Ethereum Blockchain

While the official statement of Innogy SE and Oxygen Initiative failed to mention the base protocol of their joint Blockchain platform, in late September of 2016, Slock.it founder Stephan Tuai announced that the Share&Charge is going to rely on the Ethereum network to process its operations.

Due to the network’s robustness, high hash power and resilience to both external attacks and internal bugs, the Bitcoin network is often selected by data-driven companies. Because the Bitcoin network prioritizes security instead of flexibility and functionality, digital identity startups have used Bitcoin to securely store data.

However, Tuai notes that the Share&Charge platform is utilizing Ethereum because of its ability to settle smart contracts. Since the main operation of Share&Charge of settling payments between users and Innogy SE as well as linking electronic car drivers within a peer-to-peer network requires the settlement of smart contracts. Tuai emphasized that the implementation of Ethereum was important for the success of Share&Charge.

Tuai explained:

“Share&Charge leverages the Blockchain and has chosen Ethereum in particular because of its support for smart contracts. On this chain, we create a token, to which we assign a mobility value denominated in EUR. This creates a decentralized marketplace that couldn’t exist as part of a traditional model: third party services from partners synchronize around a shared state, without having to ask permission or make use of cumbersome APIs.”

Previously, Cointelegraph reported that Ethereum is in urgent need of next generation applications to succeed as a protocol and a network. In the past two years, decentralized applications have failed to demonstrate their full potential and therefore the potential of Ethereum as a smart contract protocol.

If Share&Charge can overcome difficult obstacles of handling millions of users within a peer-to-peer network for a nationwide electronic car initiative, it will be one of the very few commercially successful decentralized applications for Ethereum.