All new public charging points should offer contactless payment via credit or debit card by spring next year, the government has said, as it seeks to address a key issue surrounding electric-vehicle usage.
While the requirement is not mandatory, the government announced today that it “expects industry to develop a roaming solution across the charging network, allowing electric vehicle drivers to use any public charge point through a single payment method without needing multiple smartphone apps or membership cards”.
It added that if the market is too slow to deliver improvements across the [charging point] network, it is “prepared to intervene to ensure a good deal for consumers by using powers in the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act”.
With more than 50 charging point providers in the UK, the variety of payment methods required to use a range of charging points has become a major source of frustration for EV drivers.
The announcement comes as BP Chargemaster, operator of one of the UK’s largest public charging networks, published plans to introduce contactless card payment to all new 50kW and 150kW chargers. It will also retrofit existing rapid chargers over the next 12 months.
However, the firm stated that contactless payment would be for “occasional users” to its charging points, and added that it will “continue to lead with its Polar Plus subscription” service.
A BP Chargemaster spokesman told Autocar: “The benefit of contactless payment will mostly be realised by those charging infrequently, who may not have used our network before. Today, the majority of usage on our network is from subscribers, and that market will grow with higher utilisation from fleets and businesses, particularly with the introduction of the BP Fuel & Charge card - the UK’s first combined fuel card for liquid fuels and EV charging.”