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One way to increase the uptake of electric vehicles, moving forward, is to make charging them as frictionless as possible at public charge points.

The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) is currently consulting on the four policy proposals of making sure the network is reliable; using a single way to pay; opening up charging point data and making payment easy – all intended to improve the experience.

If implemented, the changes would mean that drivers of electric vehicles would not have to download an app to pay as is the case currently, but simply use contactless payment. In addition, operators would have to provide a 24 hour call helpline and charge points would have to be more reliable.

Of course, to improve the experience, clear signage and lighting, shelter from inclement weather and accessibility for all customers would also need to be considered.

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.”

According to Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, to make sure that the infrastructure keeps pace with the requirements for 2030 after which no new diesel or petrol vehicles will be sold, widespread changes are necessary. He adds,

“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.”

The number of charge points in relation to the number of electric vehicles on the road at the moment is adequate but as the uptake of EV’s is set to increase, so must the number of charge points – conveniently placed in common destinations such as shopping centres and supermarkets.
And it needs to be as simple to pay as contactless is now.


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