There is a new electronic infra-red toll card device in town and it is called E-TAG, brought in by EFKON Asia, the Austrian technology provider of the Infra-Red Toll Collection System currently implemented on Malaysian highways i.e. the SmartTAG lanes.
The E-TAG is what you call the ‘SmartTAG’ device, except this is brought in by a third party (EFKON) which also happens to be the one supplying the ‘SmartTAG’ technology, and offers road users continued use of a familiar toll payment system. The EFKON E-TAG will be available in offline channels such as accessories shops (it is already available in selected Shell stations), while the MaxTAG will be available online at Lazada and 11street, sold by its distributor Sigma Technology Sdn Bhd. According to the company, the response to MaxTAG has been encouraging with over 1,500 units sold in four days upon availability.
The E-TAG and MaxTAG retail at RM143 (postage included) and come with a 1 year warranty. There is an option to get another 2 years warranty (total 3 years) with the additional payment of RM15 (applicable to online purchases).
The E-TAG and MaxTAG run on new generation microprocessor and come with an enhanced LCD display, which have been tested and claimed to have better reliability and performance than the previous SmartTAGs which are no longer on sale.
“Both E-TAG and MaxTAG feature new microprocessors and enhanced display for even better performance and reliability. These proven Infra-Red TAG devices provide peace of mind to users by providing secure transactions with the exact toll amount paid immediately visible. Most importantly, there is no possibility of cloning and risk of losing control of your finances through incorrect deductions,” said Helmuth Blasch, Director of EFKON Asia.
Blasch also mentioned that the E-TAG and MaxTAG are convenient buy-and-use devices (9V battery provided) that are portable and easily transferred for use in another vehicle without the need for specialised installation. He also mentioned that there are plans to sell the tag holder bracket separately so you can transfer your E-TAG to other vehicles easily.
“Infra-Red TAG devices are cost-effective solutions for frequent highway users. Each device is robustly built with a high-impact resistant casing. As it can be kept inside a vehicle and not subject to external environment conditions and vandalism, one can easily last 15 years or more,” added Blasch.
EFKON has over twenty years’ experience in the electronic tolling and electronic transportation systems business, with its systems implemented in Europe, South Africa, India, Ireland and Malaysia. “In Germany, the Nationwide Truck Tolling System that EFKON installed on all highways in a Multi-Lane Free Flow (MLFF) configuration has proven to be highly effective, catering to more than two million trucks travelling at up to 100 km/h. In the Netherlands’ Westerschelde Tunnel, an initial plan to replace the Infra-Red System with RFID was scrapped after it was proven difficult to accurately direct microwaves at specific stickers, especially with the presence of large reflective metal surfaces such as tankers and containers nearby,” he elaborated.
On the battery issue experienced by SmartTAG users, the company recommends the use of Super Alkaline 9V batteries (such as Duracell, Energizer and GP) for better reliability, as the power demand on the TAG unit surges when your vehicle approaches the TAG reader.
As to the longevity of the SmartTAG / E-TAG toll payment system, we think it will be here for some time. The Myvi has a built-in toll payment device, and so does the recently launched Toyota Rush.
For more information, visit www.efkon.com.