In order to get consumers into electric vehicles, there needs to be sufficient support infrastructure, such as public-access charging stations.
Of course, just as there is no universal standard for electric vehicle chargers, there is also no universal payment structure. Electric vehicle owners may be able to cope with carrying a couple of adapters to connect to different charging stations, but how do they pay for charging?
Electric vehicle charging membership is one way, which involves a monthly membership fee. The owner carries an RFID fob on their keyring, and instant-access is granted for a session of charging.
This is alright for some, but there isn’t just one network of electric vehicle charging stations. Owners could opt to join multiple networks, at which point things start to get complicated, with multiple accounts, memberships, payment structures, and their associated RFID key fobs.
Perhaps electric vehicle charging networks could take advantage of the latest trends in smartphones and connectivity options. Consumers today are used to instant-access and no-fuss interaction, with smartphone messaging and apps and even mobile wallets. Even then, such interaction with charging stations would require registration and multiple accounts with differing charging networks.
My question is, what ever happened to accepting good old plastic? Debit/credit cards are nearly universal, and we already use them to purchase fuel [and everything else], so why not electricity? I think electric vehicle charging networks are making things too complicated. Just put a card reader on every charging station. Problem solved.