The Government has launched a consultation on ways to improve the consumer experience for electric vehicle drivers at public chargepoints.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said it wants to introduce regulations that improve consumers' experience in four areas: making it easier to pay; opening up chargepoint data; using a single payment metric and ensuring a reliable network.
Officials said: ‘We propose approaches that recognise the risks and burdens to an emerging market while best meeting consumer needs.
Transport minister Rachel Maclean said: ‘Whether you’re on the school run or travelling to work, or don’t have access to a private parking space, today’s announcement will bring us one step closer to building and operating a public chargepoint network that is affordable, reliable and accessible for all drivers.’
Proposals in the consultation, which is being run by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, include simplifying payment at chargepoints, so that drivers can use contactless payment but do not have to download an app.
The DfT said it is also seeking to make chargepoints more reliable and to force operators to provide a 24/7 call helpline for drivers. It is proposing that operators should make location data, power rating and price information more accessible.
The DfT said it is also seeking evidence on three emerging policy areas: accessibility for disabled consumers; weatherproofing and lighting; and signage.
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, supported the idea of looking at the experience of disabled drivers. He said: ‘Chargepoints 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.’
The DfT also announced that two funds totalling £50m to subsidise chargepoint installation will continue in the next financial year.
The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme will be expanded to include people in rented and leasehold accommodation while the Workplace Charging Scheme will be opened up to small to medium enterprises and the charity sector.
Both schemes provide up to £350 towards a chargepoint, which was cut from £500 for the current financial year.