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EV charging networks must collaborate to prioritise consumer ease, REA warns

Image: Getty

Image: Getty

Public EV charging must become more user-friendly, the Renewable Energy Association (REA) has warned.

Chief executive of the REA, Nina Skorupska, said that greater interoperability between charging networks is “crucial to delivering” the government’s vision of building one of the best charging infrastructure networks in the world.

Currently, consumers need multiple apps, cards and in some cases membership accounts to charge their EV using public charging infrastructure. The REA says this could be a potential deterrent for future EV drivers and that greater interoperability between charging networks needs to be an industry priority.

Policy manager at the REA and author of the report, Daniel Brown, said greater interoperability could simplify public charging and open the door for advance functions.

“If our members embraced similar communications protocols and standards, customers in the future could be able to access live data in their vehicle dashboards or phone apps on charge point status, they could charge through their vehicle without the need for an app or card, and their vehicles could more easily help manage strains on the electricity system,” Brown said.

“As the number of actors in the UK’s EV charging sector is quickly expanding, and the size of the public charging network poised to significantly grow, now is the time for the sector to come together and discuss industry-led solutions to interoperability that can be supported by government.”

Daniel Brown, REA

There is also a need for an industry-led definition of interoperability that can adopted by the Government, the REA says.

By learning from the challenges faced in other markets, the UK could ‘leapfrog’ other nations and lead in the development of charging infrastructure in Europe.

Alongside interoperability, the REA suggests that the Open Charge Point Interface, software for communication between charge points and charging networks, and the ISO 15118, a standard defining a vehicle to grid communication interface, should be looked at to see if they could make improvements to the UK’s EV charging.

The report was informed by interviews with market actors, including manufacturers, charging companies, mobility service providers, and technology developers.

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