Report: EV industry must make charging network more accessible
Concerns over access to the electric vehicle (EV) public charging network across the UK have been raised by the Renewable Energy Association (REA), which has said "interoperability" should become an industry priority.
In a new report, published today (27 February), the REA said a more seamless network would reduce the need for the current range of apps, radio-frequency identification (RFID) cards and membership accounts required to access the fragmented infrastructure across the UK. At present, users could be disincentivised from owning EVs to make national or regional journeys, the REA report claims.
To overcome the issue, the REA claims greater collaboration between networks would allow for the UK charging network to offer better services for customers, such as live updates of usage. This would be achieved by EV network companies using similar communications systems and technology. Additionally, the process for billing could be simplified.
The REA report also said this would encourage more businesses to have electric fleets, and support firms looking to make the EV transition. It referenced how the telecoms industry shifted from regionalised networks to national roaming in the past two decades as a good example for the EV industry.
The Association now wants the UK Government to implement an industry-led definition of interoperability with investigation into the vehicle-to-grid ISO 15118 Standard, to see if it’s adoption by charging companies can facilitate a smarter charging network. A call for new independent organisations to support a seamless system, such as a national interoperability register, was also made.
REA chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska said the need was “urgent” and would help the Government achieve its Road to Zero strategy ambition of having a world-class EV infrastructure network.
Report author and policy manager at the REA, Daniel Brown, said now was the time for the industry to come together.
Brown said: “If our members embraced similar communications protocols and standards, customers in the future could be able to access live data in their vehicle dashboards or phone apps on charge point status, they could charge through their vehicle without the need for an app or card, and their vehicles could more easily help manage strains on the electricity system.”
The report’s release follows concern that a lack of overall infrastructure for EV across the UK is holding back the sector, with demand outstripping charging points. It also comes in the same week it was revealed that Nottingham and London are set to trial new EV infrastructure systems – including battery storage and bi-directional chargers – as part of an EU-funded vehicle-to-grid (V2G) project which seeks to overcome the issue of interoperability.