Parking payments, pricing and infrastructure key to EV switch, report finds

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Parking technology provider Flowbird has called on local authorities to improve parking payments and pricing, design EV charging around the use of parking spaces, and plan ahead to help drive the transition to electric vehicles.

In its new report Combining Parking and EV Charging to Support All Drivers, Flowbird stressed that drivers want clear payment options.

“In the smartphone age, it can be easy to forget that some people find a physical payment terminal easier to use, and this is especially true of older or lower income drivers,” said Danny Hassett, managing director, Flowbird Smart City UK.

“Not everyone wants to download an app – let alone several – and share all their data in order to refuel their car. An inclusive strategy gives people options.”

The report also found EV drivers don’t want to navigate complex pricing. It was acknowledged that parking and charging will have different costs, and charging may have different tariffs at different times. But highlighted that local authorities will need to deal with blended parking and charging tariffs.

James O’Neill of Paythru, who contributed to the report, added that “a single payment platform capable of integrating multiple end points – including chargers, parking terminals, apps, and connected vehicles – and managing a wide range of complex tariffs across the local authorities estate” is key.

Flowbird’s whitepaper also emphasised choosing the right EV charger for the right need.

“The on-board chargers on some vehicles have electronic restrictions that defy logic,” added David Pearce of a company which delivers local authority EV installations, who also contributed to the report.

“For example, sometimes electronic limitations mean the vehicle receives 3.7kW if connected to a 11kW charger, making the 11kW slower than a 7kW. Only 22kW AC chargers can ‘be all things to all vehicles’. The output flexibility of a 22kW unit will ensure that a vehicle receives charge to the maximum ability of the vehicle’s on-board systems.”

The report added that existing parking data, including automatic number plate recognition, can help understand types of vehicles and space utilisation, and so form a strategy for which chargers should go where. This can be combined with a city planning strategy to meet evolving charging needs, or incentivise new behaviours.

Flowbird’s research also suggested that when upgrades are needed local authorities must plan ahead, Sara Sloman, head of future mobility partnerships at Elmtronics, added: “When the time does come to upgrade, put the underground ducting in in one go to meet long term capacity needs so it’s easy to add more capacity later without digging things up again.”

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