Citizens Advice has called for the electric vehicle (EV) and energy sector to put consumers at the heart of the design process as new methods for charging are developed.
The consumer champion has developed a set of recommendations, based on drivers’ attitudes towards new smart charging schemes as the number of people driving EVs continues to grow.
The recommendations include guarantees on aspects such as battery health and commitments that customers should be able to switch schemes, complain, and keep track of their data easily.
The consumer group has also urged the energy and EV sectors to make sure charging schemes are easy to understand, quick to set up, and intuitive to use, and accessible for people who are not digitally savvy.
It also calls for charging schemes to take into account the needs of people with mobility issues and small businesses who may not have the time and resources to actively engage in smart charging compared to large companies.
The call by Citizens Advice comes just days after actor and EV advocate Robert Llewellyn called for more people to speak out against what he calls the “fear, uncertainty and doubt” (fud) surrounding EVs.
Speaking at Utility Week Live in Birmingham easier this week, Llewellyn, who is best known for playing Kryten in the BBC sitcom Red Dwarf as well as having his own YouTube channel, Fully Charged, dedicated to EVs, said it was a “total fabrication” to suggest the vehicles are not ready for mass take-up.
“The electric vehicle market is small, but rapidly expanding. It’s also a vital part of the decarbonisation of the whole transport system,” said Citizens Advice chief executive, Gillian Guy.
“If the evolution of new charging systems is to be a success, drivers need to be involved and listened to from the start,” she added.
“The potential risks and benefits can be hard for people to assess – particularly if, like most of us, they don’t own or have access to an electric vehicle.
“It’s also really important that the needs of people with limited budgets or mobility issues are considered and these groups are not left behind.”