I love being a staff writer for 3BL Media/Justmeans on topics - Social Innovation, Social Enterprise and Social Entrepreneurs. When I am not writing for 3BL Media/Justmeans, I wear my other hat as owner of Serendipity PR. Over the years I have worked with high-profile, big, powerful brands and organisations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from my industry....
Social Innovation: U.K. First Nationwide Pay-As-You-Go Charging Network For Electric Cars
There has been a lot of news recently in the U.K. about the availability of electric vehicle (EV) social innovation chargers. This month, POD Point. a leading electric vehicle charging company, has launched a nationwide Pay As You Go (PP PAYG) charging network for these types of cars. It is free to join with no monthly fee. It will use SMS text to access charging points, stop and start charging cycles, providing electric and hybrid vehicle drivers with the first nationwide, card-less charging network.
This social innovation system is based on the Oyster PAYG model introduced by Transport for London, which runs London's rail and tube network, a scheme that provides occasional passengers the same convenience as daily commuters without the worry of a monthly charge. Erik Fairbairn, POD Point CEO, says, "The case for nationwide PAYG is strong. Most electric or hybrid vehicle owners use public charge points occasionally, in areas they don't visit every day - yet existing charging schemes are either regional, or charge a high monthly fee regardless of use." The PP PAYG network will have more than 750 charge bays by the end of 2012, making it the largest U.K. public charge network. From 2013, all newly installed POD Point charge points will be on the network, increasing the number of charging points to more than 4,000 by 2014.
POD Point recognised the need for a nationwide charging network three years ago, as up until now the U.K. has had multiple regional networks of charge points that are closed membership schemes, which is delaying the adoption of EVs in the country. It means this type of car user cannot 'roam;' and has had to join costly multiple membership schemes, paying multiple subscriptions to be on the road. This creates hassle and imposes unnecessary expenses.
Currently, the majority of EV drivers charge their cars at home overnight, so the public network is really only used for topping up and extended-range journeys. Research shows that drivers want to be able to access a charging infrastructure in the same way as they buy petrol or park their car. So, a pay-as-you-go scheme without joining fees or paying a monthly subscription is a great solution and incentive. The ethos for many charge point owners about joining the PAYG network is about providing easy, card-free access to charge points, not about generating revenue.
Will joining a PAYG scheme help social innovation e-cars catch on in the UK? Experts who have done the maths found that someone driving a 35mpg petrol car 80 miles every working day (around 20,000 miles a year) should save around £3,000 a year in petrol. Yet, crucially, they will need somewhere to charge the car at work and at home. A scheme like this is key, and running a car like this for a decade, will easily help you make enough savings on petrol to justify the initial EV price tag!
Photo Credit: POD Point Website