I love contactless card payments. It’s so damn easy. Simple. Clever. Swing by the grocery store, swipe. Coffee, swipe. Trains, swipe. Lunch, swipe. No fiddly coins, no pin inputs (unless it’s over £30 of course). Proper convenience.

Now, there’s a great bit of news coming from the Government that all-new EV rapid charge points should offer card payment by 2020, which is phenomenal news and a big step forward in encouraging people into EVs.

In the press release it says:

This announcement comes as BP Chargemaster, the operator of the UK’s largest public charging network, has taken a major step forward for the industry by committing to introducing card payment on all new 50kW and 150kW chargers from today. It will also retrofit its existing UK-made rapid chargers with the technology over the next 12 months.

The reason why this is such good news is that multiple suppliers have produced their own bespoke access cards for their charge points, but very often these access/membership cards simply didn’t work. Also, it meant having a couple of cards handy if you used different suppliers on a journey. Sigh.

My friends in the automotive media will back me up 100% on this as they are the ones testing all manner of new EVs, and a common gripe on their Twitter handles is that the charge points (many of them at motorway services) showed error messages, couldn’t read cards, membership numbers not recognised…not ideal in this age of micro convenience!

I’m going to keep the positive tone and ignore the word ‘should’ in the story headline, in the gov.uk link above (would prefer ‘must’ but still good to see the Government committing to this), because standardising the infrastructure with something as simple as card payments is the way forward. When the London train network allowed you to use your bank card to touch in and out instead of a special Oyster card, it’s a simple thing that makes all the difference, for me anyway. I see people paying with their phones and watches even (crazy, I know). Fractionally less admin overall and let’s face it, we all crave less admin.

Now that the supporting payment system will be sorted soon, to my mind all the plugs and plug sockets ‘should’ be standardised too, don’t you think…?


Written by Ian Tonkin

Twitter: @ian_tonkin