A group of Europe’s leading smart charging solutions providers have pledged to open their networks for drivers of electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK by the end of 2019.
Allego, EVBox, NewMotion, Chargemap, ChargePoint, Charge4Europe, Engenie, Franklin Energy, and Travelcard have signed the agreement, which aims to give easy access to charging infrastructure.
When implemented, the agreement will mean EV drivers in the UK only require a single subscription to access public charging stations operated by any of the signatories.
In addition to accepting each other’s subscribers, the operators will share charging station information so data can be used to improve the charging experience for customers.
This aims to make it easy for EV drivers to see where and if a charge point is available for charging and what a charging session will cost at the specific charge point.
Infrastructure in the UK currently trails behind other European markets in terms of interoperability agreements.
Currently, EV drivers need memberships to multiple different operators to be able to fully access every available public charge point.
This, says the signatories, has created an inconsistent experience for customers, whereas a more joined-up, consumer friendly public charging network could make EVs more desirable.
Moreover, interoperability agreements in markets such as the Netherlands, France and Germany have been accredited with fuelling the switch over to EVs, they say.
Creating a more joined-up and coherent public charging network is especially critical for the UK, which has stated an intention to remove traditional combustion engine vehicles from its roads by 2040.
On a European level it is expected that by 2025 there will need to be at least 1.2 million public charging stations to meet the growing need for EV charging.
Matt Western MP, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on electric vehicles, said: “I support this move – which will make it easier for drivers to charge up their electric vehicles, and therefore, make the purchase and maintenance of them more accessible to consumers and the wider public.
“The climate emergency is a global issue – and cutting our emissions is a vital solution to this pressing problem. It is a positive step that companies in different countries are working together to create a better charging experience for everybody.
“I have long believed that the country needs a National Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy to deal with issues around accessibility. This announcement from the collaborating parties in e-mobility is absolutely a step in the right direction.”
When roaming for charging infrastructure becomes more accessible, drivers will have a choice in which mobility service provider (MSP) company they want to use.
Drivers will be able to pay for their charging session with one single subscription via their app or token and all payments of the provider will be collected on one bill.
This, says the providers, is an advantage for all, especially for business drivers, who no longer need to manually ask for reimbursement for multiple accounts from their employer.
Fleets will be able to manage all their billing, settlement and reimbursement automatically with one organisation.
Sytse Zuidema, CEO of NewMotion, said: “This partnership is a landmark moment for the UK’s public charging infrastructure that will help to breakdown one of the key barriers hampering the uptake of EVs.
“NewMotion’s wider experience in Europe, where we have a public network of over 118,000 charge points, has shown that making charging more accessible and easy helps encourage EV adoption.
“As such, we’re excited to be part of a partnership that will no doubt help drive EV adoption across the country.”
The agreements between charge point operators are based on the Open Charge Point Interface, a standardised and open-source protocol that is commonly used in the charging industry in Europe.
The initiators of this letter of intent also welcome other interested charge point operators and mobility service providers to participate in this initiative.
The agreement comes after Allstar launched an EV fuel card. The new Allstar One Electric card, from Allstar Business Solutions, aims to support fleet customers switching to full electric or hybrid company vehicles.
The fuel card provider says it combines all the benefits of the Allstar One card, but now enables drivers to pay for EV charging across a multi-branded electric charging network. Allstar’s growing EV charging network includes Engenie, Source London, GeniePoint and ESB EV Solutions.
Find your nearest EV charge point on the Fleet News charge point map.