EV charging bays stock image from Cox AutomotiveEV charging bays stock image from Cox Automotive


New poll reveals major lack of satisfaction with electric car charging infrastructure

  • Electric car owners unhappy with charging infrastructure – survey
  • Some 73% of drivers said they had experienced a faulty public charger in the previous 12 months
  • Government insists network is improving despite driver concerns

Time 2:19 pm, February 1, 2024

A new survey of electric vehicle owners has revealed the full scale of unhappiness at the UK’s public charging infrastructure. 

A study conducted by Which? found that more than two-thirds (68%) of EV drivers who regularly use public chargers are not happy with the network.

The vast majority – a whopping 73% – told the poll that they had experienced a faulty public charger at least once in the previous 12 months, while 37% said it was difficult to find a working charger.

Other respondents complained that chargepoints remain too expensive and difficult to use.

One person even told the study that member they were left unable to access a charger because it couldn’t be used without an app, despite being located in an area with poor phone signal.

Another described public charging infrastructure as ‘dismal’, and labelled it ‘infinitely more complex’ than refilling an ICE car.

The comments come repeated attempts by the government to try and simplify the charging process.

In July last year, the government introduced legislation enabling electric car drivers to only need one app to pay for public chargepoints operated by different companies, and to use contactless payments.

Which? head of consumer protection policy Sue Davies said: ‘We know that people want to make more sustainable choices and switch to an electric vehicle, but many drivers have a lack of confidence in the public charging infrastructure, and this also risks alienating people who aren’t able to charge their EVs at home.

‘It is positive that the government passed new rules that should see improvements in consumers’ experiences of the public charging network.

‘The government and chargepoint operators must continue working together to ensure the UK’s charging infrastructure is up to scratch.

‘Charging must be easy and reliable to support more people to make the move to an electric car.’

The survey canvassed the opinions of 1,004 Which? members, all of whom own a pure-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Department for Transport (DfT) figures published yesterday show there were 53,677 public electric vehicle charging devices in the UK at the start of this year – an increase of 45% from 12 months earlier.

A DfT spokeswoman said the UK was on track to ‘install 300,000 public chargepoints by 2030’.

She added: ‘Our new public chargepoint regulations will ensure simpler pricing information and payment methods, and will require all rapid chargepoints to be 99% reliable on average.

‘While we expect the private sector to deliver the majority of chargepoints, we continue to work closely with them to expand and improve the network – with our Zero Emission Vehicle mandate giving the private sector the certainty they need to invest in more chargepoints.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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