Roaming and standardised payments are still falling behind public expectations, with the Electric Vehicle Association (EVA) England calling on the government to mandate change.
Following a survey of 1,000 electric vehicle drivers, the EVA has issued several recommendations, one of these being that chargepoints should offer a choice between three standardised payment methods of a contactless credit or debit card, a ‘universal’ (RFID) charge card or a smartphone app. In the survey, a contactless credit or debit card was deemed to be the easiest method for accessing a chargepoint, with 46% of participants, or 472 drivers, selecting this method.
The second recommendation from the EVA is that the government should mandate that all chargepoint operators enable roaming and allow for drivers to use one app or RFID card on all networks, with 87% of survey participants stating they would welcome the ability to use one smartphone app across all public chargepoint networks, while 71% would welcome the ability to use one RFID card across all public chargepoint networks.
Roaming has increasingly become a focus of both the EV industry and of regulation, with the government's consultation on improving the consumer experience at public chargepoints - which the EVA's survey came in response to - seeking views on the best way to achieve a simple method of payment at all chargers, including roaming as one potential solution.
Alongside this, the EVA is recommending that the government order a minimum amount of data that must be made open in a standardised format to EV drivers to allow them to better plan their charges on the public network.
Prices for electricity sold at EV charging sites should also be stated in pence/kWh across the board, and government should work with the EV chargepoint industry to establish a roadmap to mandate 99% reliability and 24/7 helpline availability within agreed timescales.
Gill Nowell, director at EVA England, said that while the pace of chargepoint installations is increasing and today's infrastructure is "greatly improved" from what was being installed five years ago, the government should "intervene now in order to ensure that all charging infrastructure is reliable, safe and user-friendly, across all driver groups".