The government has today announced new moves to deliver a more seamless charging experiences for electric vehicle (EV) owners, unveiling proposals to ensure all new homes include charge points as standards and signalling it is “prepared to intervene” to make ‘pay as you go’ public chargers more widespread.
In a dual move to mark the first anniversary of the publication of its Road to Zero Strategy this month, the Department for Transport (DfT) today announced plans to streamline processes for charging EVs at home and at public sites.
Some EV drivers have complained the large number of competing charging networks requires them to sign up to multiple schemes to make use of public charge points.
Future of Mobility Minister, Michael Ellis, today confirmed the government would take steps to address the issues, announcing that it wanted to see all newly installed rapid and higher powered charge points provide debit or credit card payment by spring 2020.
Significantly, in its statement announcing the new goal DfT said it “was prepared to intervene to ensure a good deal for consumers by using powers in the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act”.
“The government’s vision is for the UK to have one of the best electric vehicle charging networks in the world, but we know the variety of payment methods at the moment is a source of frustration for drivers,” said Ellis. “It is crucial there are easy payment methods available to improve electric vehicle drivers’ experiences and give drivers choice. This will help even more people enjoy the benefits electric vehicles bring and speed up our journey to a zero-emission future.”
The government also said it has signalled it expects industry to develop a roaming solution across the UK’s charging network that would allow drivers to use any public charge point through a single payment method.
DfT added that it was working with the industry to make charge point data freely available, in order to make it easier for drivers to locate and access available charge points.
The moves come just days after the government announced the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has been tasked with leading a review of how to deliver a national high speed charging network.
It also follows confirmation last week that the Treasury is to tweak tax rules for corporate fleets to better incentivise the switch to zero emission vehicles. The new rules mean company car drivers that opt for zero emission models will pay no benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax from April 2020, one per cent tax from April 2021 and two per cent BIK from April 2022.
A growing number of EV network operators are now deploying fast and ultra-fast chargers, which are capable of delivering up to an 80 per cent charge to most modern EV models in as little as 10 to 15 minutes, more closely replicating the refuelling experience for conventional cars.
Business and Industry Minister Andrew Stephenson said initiatives like the move to make ‘pay as you go’ charging the norm for fast chargers “are essential as we move towards a net zero economy, making it easier than ever for people to own and use electric vehicles”.
The rapidly-expanding charging network sector is thought to be broadly supportive of proposals for ‘pay as you go’ and roaming services, with several operators already working on such plans.
Meanwhile, leading operator BP Chargemaster committed to introducing card payment on all new 50kW and 150kW chargers from today, adding it would also retrofit its existing UK-made rapid chargers with the technology over the next 12 months.
“As the operator of the UK’s largest public charging network, including the greatest number of rapid chargers, we support the government’s vision for all new rapid and ultra-fast chargers to support contactless bank card payment,” said David Newton, CEO at BP Chargemaster.
The moves to improve the public charging network come as DfT separately prepares to today publish a new consultation on proposals that would require all new-build homes to be fitted with an electric car charge point.
If adopted the rules would make England the first country to introduce mandatory charge points for new homes.
The consultation is also set to be accompanied by a call for evidence to explore how the government could better support the emerging market for smart charging services, which allow consumers to save money or generate revenue by controlling when they charge their EVs to avoid periods of peak grid demand.
“With record levels of ultra-low emission vehicles on our roads, it is clear there is an appetite for cleaner, greener transport,” said Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. “Home charging provides the most convenient and low-cost option for consumers – you can simply plug your car in to charge overnight as you would a mobile phone.”
The proposed new rules could be enacted through the existing Automated and Electric Vehicles Act, meaning they could be delivered relatively quickly. The government said any new moves would complement existing support for charge point installation, which offers EV owners £500 off the costs of installing a charge point at home.
The moves are likely to be welcomed by EV manufacturers and green campaigners, although calls for the government to step up support for the fledgling sector still further and bring forward its target date to end the sale of internal combustion engine cars from the current 2040 goal are set to continue. Last week the Committee on Climate Change warned the UK would find it near impossible to meets it net zero emission targets without a more rapid transition to zero emission vehicles than is currently envisaged.
Fuente: BUSINESS GREEN