Instead, what drivers usually encounter on the road is a bewildering jumble of operators, connectors, rates, and payment systems. In a bid to help drivers of electric cars locate exactly where they can recharge their vehicles, Bosch is joining forces with the German website clever-tanken.

With over 20m visits each month, clever-tanken.de is the market leader for fuel-price information in Germany. The result of this collaboration is Clever Laden (clever charging), a new feature of the price-comparison website’s app.

The app will not only feature prices for gasoline, diesel, and LPG, but also the locations of charge spots throughout Germany. Around 11,500 public charging points in Germany are already accessible through the apps thanks to the Bosch charging network.

Integrated filters sort the charge spots by availability, charging capacity, and required connector. In addition, the app streamlines the charging process with a uniform access and payment system.

According to Germany’s National Association for the Energy and Water Management Industries (BDEW), there were some 13,500 publicly accessible and web-enabled charge spots across the country in July 2018.

Thanks to the Bosch charging network, Clever Laden covers approximately 85% of these. The app also knows which charge spots are unoccupied, what connector a customer has to have, what charge capacity is available, and what the total electricity price will be.

All drivers of electric cars have to do is download the Clever Tanken app to their smartphone. Then they just select the “electric” powertrain type to display nearby charge spots in a list or on a map.

EV drivers can use the app to start and pay for the recharging process at any charge spot stored in the system. To make this possible, Bosch negotiated agreements with the operators of the charge spots. Drivers only have to sign on once.

After that, all they need to use the app is a PayPal account or credit card. Charge spot operators benefit as well, as Clever Laden increases the capacity utilization of their charging infrastructure

Behind the app is a powerful network of IT systems that are connected in real time. These keep the app constantly up to date, so drivers will know at any given time whether a charge spot is occupied or available.

The technology behind this is provided by the Bosch IoT Suite, a cloud-enabled software package for developing applications on the internet of things. It covers the various regional power suppliers and charge spot providers as well as partner services, such as for payment transactions.