Automotive

Trying Out the TNG RFID Fuelling System – Room for Improvement, But Still Exciting

Touch ‘n Go (TNG) launched the pilot programme for its RFID Fuelling system with Shell a couple of weeks ago, and I was lucky enough to be selected to test it out. Naturally, I was quite excited to try out the new fuelling method – it offers a level of convenience that other payment methods do not.

I’ve refuelled twice with the RFID Fuelling system, and while it’s amazing when it works, it’s pretty annoying when the RFID reader refuses to detect my car. But despite my less than ideal experience with the system, it’s definitely promising, and I really wouldn’t mind using it again.

Before we get to my experience with the RFID Fuelling system, let’s talk about how to activate the feature itself. It’s quite simple: just click on the Shell icon in the TNG eWallet app, tap on “activate fuelling,” set a preset amount to be deducted when you’re refuelling, and you’re done.

What happens if you refuelled less than the amount you’ve set? No problem: any unused amount will be refunded back to your TNG eWallet. With that in mind, you should set the amount higher than how much you usually pay at the fuelling station. That way, you’ll get a full tank of petrol or diesel.

Okay, once the initial setup is done, I can go to one of five different Shell stations to try out the beta version of the RFID Fuelling system as listed below:

  • Shell Bandar Sri Menjalara
  • Shell Mint Hotel
  • Shell NKVE Damansara
  • Shell Taman Connaught
  • Shell Taman Tun Dr Ismail

Shell NKVE Damansara was the nearest to my location, so I headed there. It was quite easy to spot the fuelling bays with the RFID system installed; there are rather sizeable LED display mounted at the two adjacent bays.

Depending on where your fuel cap is located, you’ll have to make sure your car is facing towards the RFID reader as you drive up to the fuelling bay. The first time I drove up to the proper bay, it detected my car without issue. I was really quite surprised by how seamless it was.

All I had to do then was to wait for the LED screen to display the nozzle icon. Once it does, I have 80 seconds to start fuelling up. When I’m done, I can just return the nozzle, and drive off; that’s it. I can check my transaction through the TNG eWallet app if I need to.

Of course, after I was done with my first refuelling, I drove around back to the same bay to see if the reader can detect my RFID tag seamlessly again. Unfortunately, it did not. In fact, I drove back and forth several times to see if it will eventually detect my car – it did not.

That was when I was approached by a representative of Wei Long Electronics, which develops the hardware and software of the RFID Fuelling system. Turns out, he saw that I was having trouble getting the RFID reader to detect my car, and he suggested that I tried driving to the adjacent bay instead.

Surprise surprise, the moment I drove in, the reader picked up my RFID tag quickly. But as my fuel cap is located on the right side of my Proton Iriz…this is the result.

The representative explained that as my RFID tag is on the left side of my car’s headlights – the recommended location to install the tag – the reader of the first fuelling bay I tried (which is to the right of my car) may had difficulty detecting the tag. I guess I was just lucky that the reader managed to detect my car the first time around.

He then told me that there are certain Shell stations that actually have the RFID reader installed overhead instead of to the side, which should allow it to detect RFID tags of different car sizes more effectively. Unfortunately, since the Klang Valley area is still in lockdown, I can’t travel too far to try this out for myself.

There’s a chance the overhead RFID reader will perform better for the new fuelling system, but this is just my own educated guess. At the end of the day, that’s the whole point of this pilot programme: to pinpoint any possible issue actual users will face with the system’s current implementation.

As mentioned, even though my experience with the TNG RFID Fuelling system was not as seamless as it should be, I’m eager to give it another try. I’m particularly keen to try out fuelling bays that have the RFID reader installed overhead instead.

Hopefully, TNG and Shell will roll out the RFID fuelling system to the general public soon – it’s certainly a convenient way to fuel up your vehicles.