The UK automotive industry has called for an EV chargepoint mandate to ensure fair and affordable charging for British EV motorists.
Published today (Feb 16) by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the new plan comprises seven steps to delivering a consumer-centred charging infrastructure ‘affordable, available and accessible to all’.
It is also calling for a new regulatory body to be created.
Ofcharge – the Office of Charging – would monitor the market, including charging price levels and affordability, and enforce regulated minimum standards.
In announcing the publication of the seven-point plan, the SMMT recognised successive UK governments’ and local authorities’ efforts in delivering a 3,000 per cent increase in the number of standard public chargepoints since 2011.
It said the UK’s current ratio of one rapid charger per 32 battery electric vehicles was the best in the western world – a figure that’s only behind China (1:11), South Korea (1:12) and Japan (1:17).
However, the organisation is pushing for more to be done, saying that with more than one in six new cars registered in 2011 being an EV, public charging infrastructure has ‘struggled to keep pace’.
The situation was now ‘undermining consumer confidence’ to switch to electric vehicles, the SMMT said, with ‘range anxiety now replaced by charging anxiety’.
The industry body also said there was a growing regional divide for chargers.
Analysis by the SMMT shows that by the end of 2020, the ratio of electric cars to standard public chargers was 1:37 in the north of England, compared with 1:26 in the south.
It added that in 2021, the ratio worsened in the north to 1:52, versus 1:30 in the south.
According to the SMMT, there were 1,537 charging point connectors in 2011, but by the end of 2021 that figure had risen to 48,770.
The plan would put ‘the needs of consumers first’ while the regulatory body would bring a ‘unified approach bringing together drivers, chargepoint operators, energy companies and local authorities’.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: ‘The automotive industry is up for the challenge of a zero-emission new car and van market by 2035.
‘Delivering this ambition – an ambition that would put the UK ahead of every major market in the world – needs more than automotive investment.
‘It needs the commensurate commitment of all other stakeholders, especially the charging industry, as surveys show that range anxiety has been replaced by charging anxiety.
‘Our plan puts the consumer at the heart of this transition, assuring them of the best possible experience backed by an independent regulator.
‘With clear, equivalent targets and support for operators and local authorities that match consumer needs, government can ensure the UK has a chargepoint network that makes electric mobility a reality for all, cutting emissions, driving growth and supporting consumers across the UK.’
The SMMT’s seven-point plan
- Embed consumer-centricity in policy and a national plan on charging infrastructure
- Develop and implement a nationally co-ordinated but locally delivered infrastructure plan
- Invest significantly to uplift all types of charging infrastructure, particularly public chargers, ahead of need
- Set binding targets to ensure adequate public chargepoint provision and social equity
- Enact proportionate regulation to deliver the best outcomes for consumer experience and expansion of provision
- Provide adequate enabling support to incentivise and facilitate delivery of charging infrastructure
- Ensure electricity networks are future-proofed and fit for purpose for zero-emission mobility