The UK’s current charging infrastructure needs development if the growth potential of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid EVs is to be fully realised for fleets, says Arval.
Methods of accessing charging points are inconsistent, potentially creating a barrier for fleet drivers, says the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company.
Fleet consultant David Watts said, “If you’ll excuse the unintentional pun, it seems to us that there is a disconnect between the charging infrastructure providers, of which there are now many, and the users of the networks themselves.
“It appears to be creating a real barrier against the take up of pure EVs as well as being a frustrating obstacle in the growth and efficient use of PHEVs.
“Charge point access is currently unnecessarily complicated with multiple memberships being required if you want to ensure nationwide coverage. Then the payment model itself makes little sense, with some charging on a fixed-cost, per-use basis rather than in pence per kWh used.
“This inadvertently leads to ‘charger hogging’ with drivers taking their complete time allocation rather than simply what they need to get to their home or office.”
David said that there were a number of possible solutions but the simplest and most effective would be a simple pay-as-you-go model.
“PAYG, where the fleet driver could pull up to the charger, use a contactless debit or credit card, and pay for the electricity they need without a requirement for membership or registration, would solve some of the immediate infrastructure charging issues.
“This may be especially useful for PHEV drivers who want to make the most of any charging opportunity that they have in order to increase the number of electric miles they drive.”
David said that, with the envisaged growth of the UK’s EV and PHEV parc over the next few years, the effective use of the charging structure was going to become a growing issue.
“More chargers are being installed across the country all the time but the number of vehicles needing to use them will also grow.
“We need to ensure that the use and management of the charging infrastructure is handled as well as possible if we are to encourage more and more fleets to use these vehicles. Frustrating experiences will inhibit uptake.”