The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a study of the electric vehicle charging market to ensure charging is as “straight-forward” as refuelling at a petrol station.
The CMA says charging infrastructure will be crucial to the widespread uptake of EVs. Although 80% EV charging is done at home, with drivers paying through their electricity bill, public charge stations are necessary for refuelling and for those who don’t have access to off-street parking.
The UK currently has 20,000 public charge points, up from just 1,500 in 2011. The CMA recognises even more will be needed.
The government announced last month that it will ban the sale of new vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE) from 2030, five years earlier than previously planned. Sales of EVs have boomed during the pandemic, attaining a 5.8% market share in November. However, that’s a long way from 100%.
According to research from AA in 2018, 80% of motorists have indicated that a lack of charging infrastructure is the main obstacle to them buying an electric vehicle. RAC has said a “patchy” EV charging network is “putting off drivers.”
The CMA has said it is essential drivers can access a charge point when they need one and “range anxiety” is combatted with a widespread network of public charging stations.
The CMA’s research into the charging market will consider how to develop a competitive sector while also attracting private investment and how to ensure people using EV charge points are confident they can get the best from the service.
The market study will be completed within 12 months and may then make recommendations to the government and other regulatory bodies and issue guidance to businesses and consumers.
Andrea Coscelli, CMA chief executive, said, “Making the switch to electric vehicles is key to helping the UK become greener, which is why it’s so important that everyone has the confidence to get behind the move.
“Being able to easily stop off at a petrol station is a standard part of a journey and consumers must trust that electric charge points will provide a similarly straight-forward service.
“By getting involved early as electric vehicles and charge points are still developing, the CMA can make sure consumers are treated fairly now and in the future.”