London-based POD Point has launched the United Kingdom’s first nationwide Pay As You Go, cardless network for electric vehicle (EV) charging this week.
The POD Point Pay As You Go (PP PAYG) network is free to join, has no monthly fee and requires a minimum refundable $15 balance for account activation. What’s more, the PP PAYG network will use SMS text to access charging points, and stop and start charging cycles—providing electric and hybrid vehicle drivers with the convenience of cardless charging. SMS is a text messaging service component of phone, Web or mobile communication systems, using standardized communications protocols that allow the exchange of short text messages between fixed line or mobile phone devices.
The PP PAYG network is based on the Oyster PAYG model introduced by Transport for London, which provides occasional passengers with the same convenience as daily commuters, without the overhead of a monthly charge.
POD Point CEO Erik Fairbairn commented, “The case for nationwide PAYG is strong. Most electric or hybrid vehicle owners use public charge points occasionally, in areas they don’t visit every day— yet, existing charging schemes are either regional, or charge a high monthly fee, regardless of use. The PP PAYG network will deliver a nationwide charging network that makes economic sense for electric and hybrid vehicle owners to join. [What’s more,] the owners of charge points will benefit from increased use of their charging facilities.”
The PP PAYG network will have more than 750 charge bays by the year-end, making it the largest UK public charge network. In addition, by the end of 2012, charging points belonging to Plugged in Places— a nationally funded Government initiative —also will be accessible via the PP PAYG network.
Starting in 2013m, all newly installed POD Point charge points will be on the network—increasing the number of charging points to more than 4,000 by 2014.
Registration (either online or by phone) involves providing credit card and mobile phone details and loading a refundable balance $15 onto the account. Drivers can charge their cards within minutes of registration. Billing will be to the credit card provided on registration and drivers will be able to monitor their account through a secure online portal provided by the POD Point network.
Many public charge points are currently free to use, but still require registration prior to use. A large number of charge points will remain free to use under the new PAYG scheme, but with the added benefit of being able to charge without a membership card or preregistering days before. Details of the hourly tariff of each charge point will be displayed on an online “live availability” map.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey