One of the first challenges to be addressed to build consumer confidence is to provide consumerswith consistent information and advice about smart charging that they can trust.
There are a number of sources that play a role in providing information on EVs and smart charging. The private sector will be expected to provide consumers with information on specific smart charging products and services. However, there is no consistency in what information people receive and at what points; this can lead at best to misunderstanding and at worst to misinformation.
Access to an independent, expert and trusted advice service that represents consumer interests will be critical to build public confidence and help educate consumers on smart charging. It must be a key priority for Government.
Consideration should be given to the following points:
- An advice service with a remit of providing impartial and tailored advice to consumers on smart charging and EVs should be appointed by Government;
- To ensure that this advice service is seen as being independent and impartial, it must be delivered by an organisation that has no commercial interest. The advice service must therefore be Government funded rather than by industry;
- The provider must be a trusted and impartial body with the expertise to deliver comprehensive and accurate information and advice in one easy to find location – a so-called ‘one stop shop’;
- The advice service will complement the activity of the body for consumer facing communications – outlined under Proposal 14 – by providing advice and information able to be tailored to the consumer’s individual circumstances. The body charged with delivering advice could also be tasked with providing the proactive consumer facing communications on smart charging if it had the relevant expertise;
- Government should procure the advice service through a competitive tendering process subject to the criteria above; and
- The Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce proposes that scoping work and engagement with industry and potential suppliers begin in 2020, the tender process be launched in 2021 with a view of appointing a provider by the end of 2021 / start of 2022.