LoCity's James Smith: Making EVs user-friendly


Comment by LoCity's James Smith:

With the summer break upon us it feels a good time to reflect on 2019 so far. 

Central government recently outlined expectations for a single payment solution across the EV charging network and for all their funded home chargers to be remotely accessible and ‘smart’.  Smart charging certainly appears a prerequisite to manage demand as we upgrade our national grid.  

In response to the payment issue BP Chargemaster will go contactless on all new ultra fast chargers as well as retrofitting existing 50kW units.  

Customers are being put first if all new EV rapid charge points must allow card payment by spring 2020 without needing multiple smartphone apps or membership cards.  The current situation often doesn’t feel user friendly and is then cited as a barrier to progress alongside clarity around future taxation, financial incentives, public access to charging, and long manufacturer lead times. These issues are being explored but perhaps the pace and direction of change is not what operators need during a period of uncertainty across many fronts.

Engenie recently announced they’ll be installing 2000 new public rapid chargers which will roughly double the current number available in the UK. A recent study has forecast that the EV charging industry will become profitable in 2023 when EVs breach 5% of vehicles in circulation. For that reason it’ll be interesting to see how older technology is replaced within the existing UK stock of 13,500 points. Deloitte have estimated that the UK should invest £1.6bn on 28,000 charge points for the estimated seven million EVs that will be on the road by 2030.  In London we’ve got ahead of this issue by estimating the number of chargers required before 2025 and then involving 140 organisations in contributing to a delivery plan to support that infrastructure. This plan was launched by the Mayor of London in June and outlines a number of private and public sector commitments that will accelerate the switch to EVs across the capital.

Another big change on the horizon is a change in standards for the Low Emission Zone in October next year.  If you operate a bus/coach over 5 tonnes or a lorry/specialist vehicle over 3.5 tonnes then you’ll need to meet ULEZ standards for most of London.  Please don’t get caught out!   I’m sure this will be a topic on the 25th September at our 4th Annual LoCITY Conference at the Oval cricket ground in central London.  Look forward to seeing you there!