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REA calls for greater interoperability between EV charging networks

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Greater ‘interoperability’ between electric vehicle charging networks should be made a priority for the industry, says the Renewable Energy Association (REA).

At the moment consumers need multiple apps, cards, and sometimes membership accounts in order to travel across the country using public charging infrastructure, which can be a hassle and potential deterrent for future EV drivers.

But trade association REA, which represents around 70 companies operating in the UK’s EV charging sector, says greater interoperability, which would entail EV charging network companies using similar communications systems, could be key to supporting fleets to go electric.

Dr Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the REA said: “Tackling the urgent issue of interoperability between charging networks has implications for consumers, for the energy system, and for the ability for a wide range of market actors to embrace electric vehicles.

“In the Road to Zero strategy the Government stated an ambition for the UK to have one of the best charging infrastructure networks in the world. In our minds, and in the minds of our members, interoperability is crucial to delivering that vision.”

REA has released a new report and position paper which outlines:

  • Interoperability is key to achieving the Government’s ambitions of ‘creating one of the best charging infrastructure networks in the world’
  • That there is presently an opportunity for the UK to ‘leapfrog’ other nations in the development of their charging infrastructure by acting on lessons learnt elsewhere
  • That there is a need for an industry-led definition of interoperability that can be adopted by Government
  • The Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI) should be investigated as to its possible suitability to be the UK industry standard roaming protocol
  • The ISO 15118 standard should be investigated to see if it’s adoption by charging companies can facilitate smarter charging and energy services by allowing vehicles to communicate with charge points and smart energy systems

The report was informed by numerous structured interviews with market actors including automotive manufacturers, domestic and international charging companies, mobility service providers, and technology developers.

The positions reflect those of the REA’s EV sector group, which is made up of more than 70 companies who finance, develop, install, manufacture, supply and operate charging infrastructure in the UK.

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