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Consultation now open on improving EV charge point experience

The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) has opened a consultation exploring ways to improve the experience for electric vehicle drivers at public charge points.

The changes would mean electric vehicle drivers would be able to use contactless payment without having to download an app

Open until 11:45am on 10 April 2021, the consultation invites feedback on policy proposals to improve the consumer experience through four areas:

  • Making it easier to pay
  • Opening up charge point data
  • Using a single payment metric
  • Ensuring a reliable network

The changes would mean electric vehicle drivers would be able to use contactless payment without having to download an app. It would also benefit drivers by making charge charge points more reliable and forcing operators to provide a 24/7 call helpline for drivers.

OZEV is also seeking evidence on three emerging policy areas:

  • Accessibility for disabled consumers
  • Weatherproofing and lighting
  • Signage

The Government said the work would take a step closer to delivering on the commitment to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030.

A spokesperson for OZEV said: “Drivers should also be able to find and access charge points easily, which is why we’re proposing that operators should make location data, power rating and price information more accessible for drivers. This is essential for ensuring costs are fair, for driving competition, and for increasing the confidence of both existing electric vehicle drivers and those considering making the switch.

“These proposals will ensure that it’s as easy – or even easier – for drivers to charge their car as it is to refuel a petrol or diesel vehicle.”

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said widespread changes were needed to charging to ensure the infrastructure keeps pace: “For the here and now, there are sufficient charge points in relation to the number of EVs on the road. But with all focus on 2030, more charge points will be needed to help encourage uptake and dispel drivers’ fears of running out of charge.

“In simple terms, drivers want charge points to be as easy and simple to use as a fuel pump. They don’t want to have a multitude of apps or membership cards, but the ability to simply understand how much it will cost them and pay by card.

“We will also need a mixture of locations to come forward. As well as charging at work and home, more destination charging will be needed such as; supermarkets, leisure centres, shopping centres and sports grounds.

“It would also be an opportune moment to consider the experience for disabled drivers and those with physical limitations. Charge points can be difficult to use with some existing spaces too small for wheelchair users, heavy cables and connectors as well as payment systems set at heights mainly focused on able bodied drivers.

“To truly level up, we need to think of everyone who will use the network and ensure they can keep moving.”

To access the consultation, click here.

For more of the latest industry news, click here.

Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.