EV charging schemes, such as smart charging and V2G, must be more tailored towards the needs of consumers or risk failure, Citizen Advice has warned.
The consumer protection charity has stressed the importance of ensuring schemes are made accessible for those in remote locations and putting in place financial guarantees, as well as assurances of battery health.
Citing the potential need for infrastructure upgrades as more EVs connect to the grid, CA says greater consumer protection is needed to ensure this doesn’t result in unfair bills.
Both smart charging and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) are being presented as solutions, however CA is warning that if they are to work the different travel needs and lifestyles of consumers must be taken into account from the start.
CA has set out four recommendations based on driver suggestions for how EV charging schemes can better serve consumers:
- Protection of consumers: There should be guarantees on aspects such as battery health, the ability for consumers to switch between schemes, complain and keep track of their data and financial guarantees that limit the money that users put at risk.
- Ease of use: Charging schemes should be easily understandable, quick to set up and intuitive for consumers to use, easily accessible for those not digitally savvy and available for those living in areas with weak mobile or internet signals.
- Tailoring to consumer needs: Schemes should be tailored to fit different consumer needs, including those with mobility issues, young children and those living in areas with restricted access to public transport or charging.
- Consumer control: Consumers should be given ‘sufficient’ information before signing up, as well as being kept informed about how the scheme is working for them. They should also be able to set and change their preferences and requirements.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said the needs of people with limited budgets or mobility issued must be considered so that “these groups are not left behind”.
“If the evolution of new charging systems is to be a success, drivers need to be involved and listened to from the start.
“The potential risks and benefits can be hard for people to assess – particularly if, like most of us, they don’t own or have access to an electric vehicle,” Guy said.