The UK’s current charging infrastructure needs development if the growth potential of electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEV) is to be fully realised for fleets, says Arval.
According to the vehicle leasing and fleet management company methods of accessing charging points are inconsistent, potentially creating a barrier for fleet drivers.
Fleet consultant David Watts said: “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.”
Watts believes a pay-as-you-go model would be more effective 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.
He added: “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.”