Electric car drivers could soon be able to charge their vehicles without signing up to different membership schemes for different regions, following the launch today of the UK’s first pay-as-you-go charging network.
London-based electric car charging company POD Point aims to have around 620 chargers nationwide freely available on a pay-as-you-go basis by the end of 2012, with a view to more than trebling the size of the network to 2,000 charge points by the end of the following year.
The company said it wants to do away with the current situation where drivers may find it difficult to charge their vehicle outside their local area if they do not subscribe to a charging scheme in a particular region.
A company spokesman toldBusinessGreen that the new system would rely on charge cards to begin with, but POD Point envisages new forms of payments such as SMS or smartphone apps becoming quickly available.
He added that POD Point is open to working with other charging networks and is currently in negotiations with charge point providers about integrating its pay-as-you-go model with their services.
“We are looking to create an open network by trying to join up disparate infrastructure,” he said, adding that the company was hoping to reach at least half of all electric vehicle drivers over the next few years. “We’re aiming to make this as wide a network as possible.”
POD Point is Europe’s largest electric vehicle charge point supplier, having now shipped over 2,500 wall-mounted and street charge point units, and is the approved supplier for Toyota dealers throughout the EU.
The POD Point Network follows last year’s launch of the POLAR scheme, operated by Chargemaster, which aims to fit 4,000 charging points across the UK’s 100 largest towns and cities by the end of 2012 to create the country’s largest charging network.
The news also comes on the same day as Chargemaster announced POLAR will add 64 charge points across Oxford and the surrounding area, transforming the city into one of the EV capitals of Europe.
Following the rollout, Oxford residents will have one charge point between every 2,391 citizens, compared to 4,029 in Amsterdam, 4,803 in Paris and 11,927 in London.
There are already more electric car chargers than petrol stations in Oxford and another 50 chargers are expected to be added in the next 12 months, including a number of fast-charge points, while a further 100 charging points are available within 40 minutes’ drive.
In addition, Chargemaster has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hertz to launch an electric car sharing club in Oxford, which would see 10 electric Nissan LEAFs made available to book online for rental by the hour, day or week. The cars are likely to be situated in university campuses, street locations, local car parks, major employers’ car parks, and other strategic locations across the city and surrounding areas.
Source = Business Green