Shell and Mercedes-Benz Trucks trial digital fuel payments

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Shell and Mercedes-Benz Trucks have successfully trialled the first digital in-truck payment system in the manufacturer’s Actros model for fuelling at selected Shell stations in Germany.

Feedback from the customer demos showed that the automated digital fuel payments can act as a key enabler to increase convenience for fleet managers and drivers, combat fuel fraud and reduce administrative effort for transport companies.

The system utilizes a prototype digital service known as Truck-ID, from Mercedes-Benz Trucks, and a new application called Truck Wallet. These are combined with Shell’s SmartPay API, which allows for the digitalisation of fuel cards and payments for fuel at Shell sites.

The Truck-ID works like an integrated ID card, so the transactions are uniquely assigned to the vehicle and automatically signed by the vehicle itself.

As part of the tests, the digital fuel card accessed the functionality of the Truck-ID via the Truck Wallet and authenticated and authorized the truck to the central filling-station system during the online payment process.

Once the vehicle had securely identified itself towards Shell’s system with its Truck-ID, the transaction was authorized by Shell SmartPay API. The essential part of the security checks was the matching of the GPS location of the truck and the fueling station. Only if both were successfully matched, the pump was activated.

Giorgio Delpiano, senior vice president of Shell Global Fleet Solutions & E-Mobility, said: “Shell is a pioneer in the development of digital mobility solutions. Our collaboration with Mercedes-Benz Trucks to create a more efficient, convenient and secure in-truck payment authorization solution powered by Shell SmartPay API and Mercedes-Benz Truck’s Truck-ID for customers is a perfect example of this.”

The new system enables Fleet managers to view an invoice breakdown of vehicle spending and activity through the Shell Fleet Hub, its digital fleet management platform.

Dr Helge Königs, head of the Truck-ID & Truck Wallet project at Daimler Trucks, said: “We are very pleased that we have entered a new phase of our Truck-ID and Truck Wallet project with the latest tests. Our very first pilot tests in 2019 took place under a sort of laboratory conditions. Now we have demonstrated in real life that trucks can electronically interact with the filling-station system directly on site and can carry out the authorization of payment processes by signing fuel data using its digital signatures.

“By integrating Shell SmartPay API, we have jointly developed a digital fuel card which is an excellent electronic alternative that has proven to be extremely practical and advantageous. After completing further tests, we will concentrate on transferring the technology to series production. Our goal is to establish the Truck Wallet including the Truck-ID as the basis for a wide range of a digital services portfolio in machine-to-machine interactions.”

A built-in digital fuel card eliminates the need for drivers to leave the truck when refuelling and is expected to reduce administrative work for fleet operators as they wouldn’t have to handle physical cards anymore. Digital fuel cards can also make fuel fraud more difficult.

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