The UK automotive industry is calling for radical action to ensure all drivers can benefit from public EV charging networks.
A new seven-point plan aims to make electric vehicle charging affordable, accessible and available for all. A proposed new independent regulator would be responsible for ensuring targets are met.
It comes as figures show the number of available public EV charging points has risen by 69.8 percent between 2019 and 2021. However, the number of battery electric cars on the road has increased by a staggering 586.8 percent during the same period.
Chargers and fair charges
The industry does praise the rollout of chargers. It notes that, since 2011, the overall number of public charging points has increased by 3,000 percent.
However, the dramatic increase in EV numbers is leading to a lack of equality across the country in terms of access to charging. In 2021, the ratio of electric cars to public chargers in the north of England was 1:52, compared to 1:30 in the south.
Treating regions fairly would be one role of an independent regulator. Potentially branded as ‘Ofcharge’ (the Office of Charging), it would be responsible for monitoring the market and ensuring all regions are ready for 2030.
Investigating the fairness of EV charging costs, and enforcing minimum regulatory standards, could also fall to Ofcharge.
Putting the consumer first
The full seven points as part of the proposed plan are:
- Embed consumer-centricity in policy and a national plan on charging infrastructure.
- Develop and implement a nationally coordinated but locally delivered infrastructure plan.
- Invest significantly to uplift all types of charging infrastructure, particularly public chargers, ahead of need.
- Set binding targets to ensure adequate public chargepoint provision and social equity.
- Enact proportionate regulation to deliver the best outcomes for consumer experience and expansion of provision.
- Provide adequate enabling support to incentivise and facilitate delivery of charging infrastructure.
- Ensure electricity networks are future-proofed and fit for purpose for zero emission mobility.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said: “Our plan puts the consumer at the heart of this transition, assuring them of the best possible experience backed by an independent regulator.
“With clear, equivalent targets and support for operators and local authorities that match consumer needs, government can ensure the UK has a chargepoint network that makes electric mobility a reality for all, cutting emissions, driving growth and supporting consumers across the UK.”
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