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Jaguar & Shell’s New In-Car Payment System May Be About Something More

Jaguar and oil giant Shell have teamed up to create a novel, in-car payment system. And while this may be gilding the lily and solving a problem already taken care of, it could point to some interesting advancements ahead.

Okay, briefly, what Jag and Shell have cooked up here is an in-car payment system so you can buy gas easier. Effectively, it’s a software upgrade that’s integrated into the car’s infotainment system, and accessible via the large central touch screen.

I’ll get into the minutia of how all this works (and it actually is rather interesting) but for the moment, let me ask this question: Why?

Data Factors

Why go to all this time and trouble to come up with a gas-buying app when you can already basically do that with Apple Pay or Android Pay or PayPal or someone like that? Why not, if your Jaguar, just partner with one of these tech companies, rather than rolling your own (as the saying goes)?

Near as I can tell, the reasons for taking this harder route are two-fold. One, you can pull that sweet, sweet demographic data that’s driving a lot of our digital economy these days on your own, and the data will be much more pure and need less refinement. Meaning you can slice and dice a certain portion of your customer behavior and drive future decisions off that. Two, you can, potentially, push customers to use given products and services. In this case, you could, hypothetically, impel them into using Shell products more and more.

Essentially what Jaguar and Shell are up to is this: Instead of using a credit card at the pump, or, even more Neanderthal-esque cash, you can simply drive up to the pump at a Shell station and, via the touchscreen, select how much fuel you want and then securely pay using PayPal or Apple Pay. Jaguar will add Android Pay later this year.

Once you’re finished, a receipt will pop up on the touchscreen, and an electronic version is sent from the pump to your email so you can add it to your expense account and things along those lines for business travel. You might think that Jaguar/Shell just cribbed their own version of digital pay software, or coded out their own, but what they ended up doing is actually a little more complex and clever than that.

Convenience Factors

Contrasting against the current phone-based payment methods, Shell and Jaguar have created a simple but secure system that uses geolocation technology and a cloud-based, pre-payment authorization through PayPal or Apple Pay. Basically you transfer a bunch of cash into the account of your choice (PayPal or Apple Pay for the moment) and when you roll into a Shell station, the geolocation tech knows you’re there, the software connects all the dots, and you’re good to go.

“Making a payment directly from a car’s touchscreen will make refueling quicker and easier,” said Peter Virk, Jaguar Land Rover’s Director of Connected Car and Future Technology. “With this new system you can choose any pump at the gas station and pay for the fuel even if you’ve forgotten your wallet or can’t find your credit or debit card.”

Yes, but that still doesn’t give any real reason as to why this is better than using PayPal or Apple Pay or Android Pay via your phone. Sure, there’s the “forgotten your wallet or can’t find your credit or debit card” rational, but to me, it still seems like the real rationales are ones of data control, data mining, and driving product purchase behavior.

At first, this new system be available in the 2018 Jaguar XE, XF, and F-PACE models launching in the U.K., but other markets are expected to follow. Jaguar also plans to have the system included throughout their line up, and also in corporate sibling Range Rover as well. Jaguar hopes to expand the system to include parking and drive-through restaurants, which is both cool and practical.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.

Photos & Source:  Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC