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FUEL cards used by the fleet industry to allow drivers to pay for the petrol/diesel with the company invoiced directly could be phased out with the increased adoption of electric vehicle.

As the mass market for petrol and diesel declines is gradually phased out there will be a need to pay for electricity at a charge point.

However, not a single fuel card provider currently offers a service that allows fleet operators to charge EV’s across the multiple charging networks.

Cornwall Insight’s latest analysis in Charged up: Future Fleet – a quarterly review of the fleet vehicle transition to EVs – suggests that not only is there merit in examing a similar fuel card payment service but, provision needs to be made for a standardised payment method now.

Tom Lusher, Analyst at Cornwall Insight said: “The issue of lack of standard payment methods for EV charging was recognised in the Electric Vehicle (Standardised Recharging) Bill.

“Without a universal payment method for EVs, this will quickly become an administrative headache for fleet managers. Especially, those with a broad geographical range, who will end up having to manage multiple different memberships and fees.

“The most obvious way for fleets to pay at charge points would be to use the same fuel card system they have now. Not only will fleet managers already know how to use the system, but the familiarity will allow fleets to transition to EVs far more quickly.

“Provision needs to be made now to the Electric Vehicle Bill to support fuel card providers to expand services to cover all charge points across the country.

“This provision would ensure that fuel cards, as well as all other types of credit/debit card, can pay at a charge point without the need for a subscription or an app associated with any chargepoint network in the country.”

Lusher said that some limitations are preventing widespread, easy adoption.

Fuel card providers may be unable to offer such a service due to the multiple charge point operators, each with unique subscription services and their cards.  

However, schemes such as Plug-in Suffolk’ – although localised – shows that a fully open charging network could work.”