UK company Zap-Map has launched a service that enables electric vehicle (EV) drivers to pay for charging across different networks.
Called Zap-Pay, the new service is incorporated into Zap-Map’s existing charger locator Zap-Map, creating the first UK service that allows drivers to search, plan and pay for EV charging all in one app. Currently, drivers need to use multiple apps and cards to charge on different networks.
At present, Zap-Pay is available only for chargers run by UK-wide rapid-charging network Engenie. However, the service will soon expand to encompass others, including ESB EV Solutions, LiFe and Hubsta.
More than 250,000 people have downloaded the Zap-Map app, available for free via Google Play and the Apple App Store.
Zap-Pay aims to increase uptake of EVs by simplifying charging – a traditional sticking point among would-be EV buyers who are put off by concerns about charging infrastructure.
Zap-Map chief technology officer and joint-managing director Ben Lane said: “More people than ever are buying an EV, but providing a seamless charging experience is essential to accelerate this shift, cut carbon emissions and clean our air.”
To this end, Zap-Map has won support from the UK government, which has made increasing EV uptake a priority; it recently doubled its EV charger funding from £5 million to £10m.
Transport minister Rachel Maclean said: “It should be as easy for drivers to charge their vehicles at public charge points as it is to pay for petrol or diesel. This is why I have made services, such as the one launched today, a personal priority as we transition to zero-emission vehicles.”
Although Zap-Map's is the first UK app to blend searching, planning and paying for EV charging, it's not the first to enable EV drivers to pay for charging across different networks. Earlier this year, Octopus Energy released a roaming service that allows users to pay for EV charging.
Some car makers also already provide services that allow payment across multiple charging networks, for example Audi’s E-tron charging service. However, such services require users to own a specific vehicle, whereas Zap-Map's service is available to all EV owners.
As well as the new app, Zap-Map is also developing new features to support the electrification of commercial fleets and other e-mobility services. A spokesperson from the company said that these will be rolled out over the next 12 months.