Digital fuel payments could be coming to the UK after initial testing in Stuttgart, Germany.

Shell sites within the German city are being used for the trial, which could revolutionise how drivers pay for fuel.

Mercedes-Benz is keen to digitise its vehicles, so is investigating the technology on Actros models. 

Specifically, a payment function has been added to the trucks’ computer systems to enable a seamless transaction.

Essentially, Mercedes’ Truck-ID has been combined with a digital fuel card prototype to ensure payment via Shell’s SmartPay.

Therefore, the Truck-ID works like an integrated ID card, so transactions are assigned to the specific vehicle. 

The transactions are then ‘signed for’ by the vehicle itself. 

Meanwhile, Shell SmartPay API functions as a data transmitter and enables payments for fuel on Shell sites.

The Actros trucks used in the tests are regular series-production vehicles – the only upgrades has been to software.

In addition, Mercedes-Benz has also connected its existing prototype of its Truck Wallet.

Truck Wallet is a platform technology that accesses Truck-ID for various purposes, such as digital fuel payments.

In this case, Shell and Mercedes-Benz have combined to create a digital fuel card, accessed via Truck Wallet.

A digital fuel card is seen as more convenient and efficient than a physical one.

For example, they prevent fraud, there is less admin work and drivers save time in queues.  

Dr. Helge Königs, head of Truck-ID and Truck Wallet at Daimler is delighted with the progress of the project. 

“Our very first pilot tests in 2019 took place under a sort of laboratory conditions,” said Dr Königs. 

“However, now we have demonstrated in real life that trucks can electronically interact with the filling-station system directly on site.” 

“They can also carry out authorisation of payment processes by signing fuel data using its digital signatures.”