One of the biggest barriers to electric car ownership is finally being tackled as the government looks to improve electric vehicle charging.
The Department for Transport has pledged to make it ‘easier’ to top up an electric car than a petrol or diesel vehicle.
It has proposed the introduction of contactless payment at charge points, forcing operators to provide a 24/7 call helpline for drivers and making location data, power rating and price information more accessible.
It was also announced that small businesses and those in leasehold and rented accommodation will receive money to install electric vehicle charge points.
The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) will provide up to £350 towards a charge point, and is to be expanded to target people in rented and leasehold accommodation.
Car dealers report that one of the biggest fears of EV ownership among potential buyers is public charging.
The SMMT welcomed the moves, but has warned there is a desperate need for more chargers.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: ‘We urgently need more charging points to accelerate our transition to electric motoring, so this announcement is welcome and a step in the right direction.
‘As we race towards the phase out of sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, we need to accelerate the expansion of the electric vehicle charging network.
‘An electric vehicle revolution will need the home and workplace installations this announcement will encourage, but also a massive increase in on-street public charging and rapid charge points on our strategic road network.
‘This will give drivers the confidence that recharging will become as easy as refuelling.’
The government has realised it needs to act to improve the poor charging infrastructure in the UK. Drivers often complain that public charging points are broken when they arrive at them and poorly cared for.
One of the biggest frustrations with the charging network in the UK is the fact most providers insist on customers using different apps, leading to confusion and frustration among drivers.
The DfT said: ‘These proposals will ensure that it is as easy – or even easier – for drivers to charge their car as it is to refuel a petrol or diesel vehicle.’
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean added: ‘Whether you’re on the school run or travelling to work, or don’t have access to a private parking space, today’s announcement will bring us one step closer to building and operating a public charge point network that is affordable, reliable and accessible for all drivers.
‘As the UK accelerates towards net zero emissions by 2050, we are determined to deliver a world-leading electric vehicle charging network, as we build back greener and support economic growth across the country.’
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said much needs to be done to improve the network of chargers in the UK.
He said: ‘In simple terms, drivers want charge points to be as easy and simple to use as a fuel pump.
‘They don’t want to have a multitude of apps or membership cards, but the ability to simply understand how much it will cost them and pay by card.
‘We will also need a mixture of locations to come forward. As well as charging at work and home, more destination charging will be needed.’