The Electric Vehicle Association (EVA) England has called on the Government to make ‘key reforms’ to improve confidence in public electric vehicle (EV) charging.
EVA England has made recommendations following a survey of more than 1,000 drivers which highlighted widespread support for the rollout of contactless credit and debit card payments, being able to use one charge card (also known as an RFID card) or app across multiple charging network operators, and higher levels of reliability.
The Government announced a £20 million research and develoment competition to find solutions to the challenges associated with increasing the uptake of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) and the necessary infrastructure.
The survey also highlighted the importance of the public charging network even to those with off-street parking, said EVA England, with 92% of EV drivers relying on the public charging network at least once a month.
Gill Nowell, media spokesperson and a director at EVA England, said: “With automotive manufacturers, fleets, and businesses all now choosing to go electric, we need to improve the consumer experience at public charge points to take EV adoption mainstream.
“Based on the outputs of this survey, paving the road for the mass adoption of EVs looks like contactless card payments, roaming, consistent charge point reliability, simplified billing, and easy access to information about what chargers are where.
“We recognise that the pace of charge point deployment is increasing and that the infrastructure going in the ground today is greatly improved from that which was being installed even five years ago.
"However, we encourage Government to intervene now to ensure that all charging infrastructure is reliable, safe, and user-friendly, across all driver groups.”
The Government announced it would end the monopoly on electric car charging at motorway services, with new legislation to ensure chargers are reliable and accessible by all.
Based on the results of the survey, EVA England has made the following recommendations to Government:
1. Charge points should offer a choice between three standardised payment methods: 1) A contactless credit or debit card 2) A ‘universal’ charge (RFID) card 3) A smartphone app
2. The Government should mandate that charge point operators enable roaming and allow for drivers to use one app or RFID card on all networks
3. Government should mandate a minimum amount of data that must be made open in a standardised format to EV drivers to better equip drivers to plan their charges along the public charging network
4. All prices for electricity sold at EV charging sites should be stated in pence/kWh
5. Government should work with the EV charge point industry to establish a roadmap to mandate 99% reliability and 24/7 helpline availability within agreed timescales
6. Standardised signage should be increased in terms of both number and visibility both at the site of the charge point as well as on a range of approach roads
The survey was conducted in response to the UK Government’s consultation on the consumer experience at public charge points.