Electric car charging, via PAElectric car charging, via PA


Patchy mobile signals could hamper electric car charging, says RAC Foundation

  • EV drivers can only access most Type-2 public chargers via mobile phone apps
  • But two-thirds of chargers are in areas with a weak 4G signal, hindering charging
  • That could undermine public confidence in charging ability, says RAC Foundation
  • It says poor connections won’t be picked up in government’s new mandatory reporting system
  • Organisation wants all four of UK’s mobile network providers to provide adequate coverage

Time 9:07 am, April 8, 2024

Weak mobile signals could be hindering public charging for two-thirds of EV drivers in Britain.

That’s according to a study by transport policy and research organisation the RAC Foundation, which warned that the problem risks ‘undermining’ confidence in the EV infrastructure.

Its study found that 66% of Type-2 chargers – which have speeds of up to 8kw – in Britain excluding London are in areas where at least one mobile network provider doesn’t have usable 4G coverage.

In the capital, the figure is slightly lower at 61.3%.

Most Type-2 public chargers require drivers to access them via mobile phone apps and the chargers need an adequate mobile connection to work.

The foundation warns that unless all four of the country’s mobile network providers – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – provide adequate coverage at a charger’s location, there is a risk a driver will be unable to recharge their EV.

Director Steve Gooding said: ‘Drivers of vehicles fuelled by petrol and diesel are used to reliable and hassle-free filling up at any of the 8,400 forecourts across Britain.

‘The same cannot yet be said of topping up the battery of an electric car at a public chargepoint.

‘Where signal connectivity at a chargepoint is a problem, drivers might conclude that the charger is at fault, hence undermining the confidence we should be building in the reliability of public charging options for electric vehicles.’

He added that poor connections for Type-2 chargers won’t get picked up in the government’s new mandatory reporting system, as it only applies to the rapid charger network.

The foundation is urging a better approach to highlighting connection issues so that designers can make ‘workarounds’ available, such as wi-fi hotspots and satellite internet provision.

Last week, the SMMT issued a renewed plea for EV purchase incentives after figures showed a decline in their share of the new car market.

It wants the government to halve VAT on new EVs, amend plans to introduce vehicle excise duty for EVs and reduce VAT on public charging from 20% to 5% to bring it in line with home charging.

The RAC Foundation’s report was based on an analysis of figures from the Department for Transport and mobile network mapping company Teragence.

A government spokesperson said: ‘We’ve invested £1bn to increase 4G coverage and are on track to have 95% of the UK covered by the end of next year.

‘The number of new electric vehicles and plug-ins sold overall is higher than last year, thanks to £2bn of government investment, and we continue to help more people to make the switch to electric through schemes such as the £381m Local Electric Vehicle fund, helping to roll out charging infrastructure.’

Main image: John Walton/PA

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John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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