Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill

Written evidence submitted by Tom Vanstone (AEVB 16)

Dear MPs et al

As an early adopter of electric vehicles in mid Devon I welcome this bill and hope you can do some good with it. You have asked for input from the public. I will be brief and rather than go into detail about the vehicles themselves will concentrate on the fuelling thereof. Of course most of us have the means to "slow charge" our ev overnight but widespread adoption means that many people without off street parking will need to make use of rapid charger networks.

Please, if you do anything at all in this bill, make it mandatory to be able to pay for this charge using a normal method of payment such as a bank debit card. Why one has to be a member of, essentially, a club and pay a subscription or have a smartphone app with several different providers just to use a rapid charger is beyond me.

Of course, the different networks all have different systems and if the phones run out of battery or have poor signal (or you simply don't have it) you can't charge. You may see this as similar to "forgetting your wallet" but I can assure you (as a reasonably technically competent 40 something) there are many factors at play here to stop one charging when a simple contactless bank card payment would solve the issue.

Let me describe a charge at Okehampton last weekend. I arrived at the charger to find one of the bays occupied by a diesel car. Luckily evs are still uncommon here so the other bay was empty. It was a charger provided by sse genie point to "open up" Cornwall in an initiative a couple of years back. I don't have their special card as it costs £20/annum so have to access through their website page. No 4G connection at the site so I can't connect. Walk across the forecourt to the garage who don't have WiFi but point me in the direction of the cafe. Kindly they allow me to connect to the WiFi where I cannot activate the charger remotely. So, I walk back to the charger and ring the phone number on the side where I speak to a man who tells me I need to top up my account before I can charge. So, I put £20 on my pre-pay fuel account and then walk back to the cafe where I can remotely initiate the charge from the Internet. After about 10 minutes of this I managed to get it working but it doesn't need to be that hard.

Result- car charged up for about a fiver, (in this case about 60 miles so not a massive saving over diesel here it's worth noting) genie point still have £15 on account for next time. For me that's fine, but if I was passing through I may never use their network again. Then it really would be expensive motoring!

The instavolt model on the other hand is exemplary. Turn up, flash your bank card, plug in. When you've had enough, flash the card again, go. As far as I know they are the only ones so far. No membership, no Internet connection, no app, no pre-pay. Let's use the legislation to encourage simplicity in adoption.

And for mid Devon at least, that's it.

In summary:

1. More rapid chargers

2. Not overpriced - some allowance for profit but basically a flat rate per kWh please.

3. Pay using money (after all that's what it's for) ... bank card or even coin slot?

My thanks to you for reading, I implore you to take note.

November 2017


Prepared 15th November 2017