All public rapid and high-powered electric vehicle charging points installed after spring 2020 must offer credit and debit card payment facilities, the Department for Transport has said.

The DfT said it has signalled it the expects industry to develop a roaming solution across the charging network, allowing electric vehicle drivers to use any public charge point through a single payment method without needing multiple smartphone apps or membership cards.

This goes a step further than the the Government’s Alternative Fuels Regulations, introduced in November 2017, which declares that operators must provide “ad-hoc” access to charging points installed after 18 November 2017 for electric vehicle owners. The regulation states: “‘ad-hoc access’ means the ability for any person to recharge an electric vehicle without entering into a pre-existing contract with an electricity supplier to, or infrastructure operator of, that recharging point.”

Ecotricity Motorway charging points - main image

The DfT added that to increase confidence in the charging network and reduce range anxiety it is working with the industry to make charge point data freely available, helping drivers easily locate and access available charge points.

Future of mobility minister, Michael Ellis, 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.”

Edmund King, the AA’s president, welcomed the announcement. “We are pleased that our calls for rapid chargers to be accessed by all via debit and credit cards or contactless payment has been heeded,” he said.