Tap and zap! Electric car charge points should offer contactless payment by 2020

Electric car charging stations should offer contactless payment by next spring, the government announced today.

It would let people pay for charging their electric vehicle with a credit or debit card, as well as existing methods such as smartphone apps or membership cards.

Michael Ellis, future of mobility minister, said: “The government’s vision is for the UK to have one of the best electric vehicle charging networks in the world, but we know the variety of payment methods at the moment is a source of frustration for drivers.

“It is crucial there are easy payment methods available to improve electric vehicle drivers’ experiences and give drivers choice. This will help even more people enjoy the benefits electric vehicles bring and speed up our journey to a zero-emission future.”

The government has backed the installation of more than 20,000 public charge points across the UK, including more than 2,000 rapid chargers. There are now more places to charge an electric car than there are petrol stations.

It comes alongside an announcement by BP Chargemaster, which operates the UK’s largest network of charging sites, that it will introduce card payment options on all new 50kW and 150kW chargers from today. In addition, it will be retrofitting UK-made rapid chargers with card readers over the next 12 months.

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Chief executive David Newton said: “We support the government’s vision for all new rapid and ultra-fast chargers to support contactless bank card payment.”

The initiative follows the prime minister’s announcement last week that a high-speed electric vehicle charging infrastructure needs to be developed nationally. The government has warned that it is prepared to intervene to ensure a good deal for consumers if the market is too slow to deliver improvements across the entire network.