With Touch n’ Go’ having discontinued sales of the long-running SmartTAG, Austrian electronic toll collection technology provider Efkon has now released its own-branded infra-red (IR) device, the E-Tag. This device will be marketed under various brands, one of which is MaxTag by Sigma Technology which is already on sale online.

Both the MaxTag and E-Tag feature new microprocessors and display for improved performance and reliability, said Efkon Asia director Helmuth Blasch. “Most importantly, there is no possibility of cloning or risk of losing control of your finances through incorrect deductions,” Blasch said.

The E-Tag, and by relation, the MaxTag, can last 15 years or more, so long as the device is kept within a vehicle and not subject to external environment conditions and vandalism, he said, adding that both devices are portable and easily transferred for use between vehicles without the need for specialised installation.

Consumer response to the MaxTag has been good, says Efkon, with more than 1,500 units sold upon becoming available for purchase online. The E-Tag will be available for purchase through offline channels such as select Shell stations as well as car accessories shops.

Beyond the portable E-Tag and MaxTag infra-red devices, Efkon plans to offer aftermarket installation of built-in solutions, such as those offered in some locally assembled cars such as the Perodua Myvi and new Toyota Rush. Pricing for the built-in systems is not available just yet, as Efkon is still in discussions with unspecified OEMs.

Blasch also shared case studies in Germany and the Netherlands on the implmentation of Efkon’s infra-red dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) system in those countries. The Efkon-installed Nationwide Truck Tolling System in a multi-lane, free-flow (MLFF) configuration has proven to be highly effective, said Blasch, and caters to more than two million trucks travelling at speeds of up to 100 km/h.

An intial plan in the Netherlands’ Westerschelde Tunnel to replace the infra-red system with RFID was scrapped as it proved difficult to accurately direct microwaves at specific stickers, particularly with the presence of large, reflective metal surfaces such as from nearby tankers and containers, Blasch added.

The MaxTag is currently sold on e-commerce platform Lazada.