Electric cars already threatened by poor charging infrastructure warns SMMT

British motorists are turning to electric vehicles in ever-greater numbers but the rapid growth of EVs is under threat from a below-par charging infrastructure warns the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Ford plug-in electric car

© Provided by Motoring Research
Ford plug-in electric car

Speaking at the organisation’s 104th Annual Dinner, SMMT president Dr George Gillespie said there are already more than 115 zero emission capable vehicles on sale in the UK and the industry “has inspired the public to buy these exciting vehicles in numbers never seen before.

“But here is the twist. It is so frustrating to find broken chargers, blocked chargers, multiple apps, confusing payment schemes.

“This is quickly going to turn a lot of people off electric vehicles and all our work in developing these fantastic vehicles will be wasted.”

The warning was delivered to a guest list that included automotive industry executives, media, and other stakeholder representatives – including government.

Plans – and mandates?

The SMMT is calling for long-term strategies to address the challenges faced by the UK automotive industry, with a particularly focus on upping the pace of EV charging infrastructure.

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“As electric vehicle sales race ahead,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes, “on-street charging infrastructure is increasing slowly.

“We look to government to create the conditions – maybe mandate the conditions – to accelerate the infrastructure across the country, as we need others to match our speed.”

The SMMT says more plug-in electric cars will be sold in 2021 than in the entire previous decade, and a third of British-built cars are now electrified.

Automotive manufacturing, it adds, is Britain’s most valuable export, with around 155,000 people employed in “highly skilled, well-paid jobs across the country.

“Manufacturers are firmly committed to decarbonise cars and vans by 2035.”


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