Company promises to offer EV drivers a single way for paying for charging, whether they are at home or on the go
Octopus Energy Group has today launched a new service designed to streamline electric vehicle (EV) charging payments through a new 'roaming' package.
EV drivers currently face a plethora of different membership schemes and payment processes adopted by different charging networks. Many of the operators in the industry have promised to work together to simplify charging payments and ensure drivers can use different networks, while the government is working on plans that would enable contactless payment for chargepoints.
However, currently many EV drivers remain signed up to multiple charging networks in order to ensure they can access charge points when necessary.
Octopus said its new service would seek to tackle this "long-standing complaint" from EV drivers with the launch of the Electric Juice Network, which would allow drivers to pay for charging through a single bill.
The network has launched with charging network operator Char.gy, which has pioneered the use of lamppost charging stations that allow drivers without off-street parking to plug in near where they live.
Octopus said drivers will soon be able to roam across many more networks as the company continues to add new partners to the network. It added that the network can be used by any electric car driver regardless of whether or not they are already an Octopus Energy customer.
The new service builds on Octopus' offer of time-of-use tariffs and smart analytics for charging companies across the UK, which are currently used by around a third of the market's charge point networks.
"Electric Vehicle drivers have rightly long-complained that public charge points can be a real hassle, and it's hard to keep track of costs, as every network runs on a unique app or card basis," said Greg Jackson, CEO and Founder of Octopus Energy. "Octopus's Electric Juice Network doesn't just consolidate charging costs, it adds them to your Octopus Energy bill if you're an existing customer. For non-Octopus customers, you can still use the service to ensure you're able to track (and pay) in one simple way."
His comments were echoed by Richard Stobart, CEO of Char.gy, who said the service would "let our customers have one consolidated energy bill including their on-street charging".
"By working closely with Octopus Energy we were able to rapidly prototype the solution," he said. "We are looking forward to more collaboration in the future, to deliver more charge points and features that our customers will love."
Octopus Energy said the service was initially focused on the UK, but a new Electric Juice app would quickly allow drivers across Europe to take advantage of the same service.
Roaming agreements between different charging network providers are expected to become more commonplace with much of the industry working on various partnerships that should streamline payment processes. However, industry insiders indicate that attempts to develop a standardised approach across the entire sector have met with resistance from some operators, fuelling speculation that government may end up regulating to enable universal roaming agreements.
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