The seven-point plan is designed to provide a basis upon which industry, government and other stakeholders – such as charging providers – can work together on an equitable roll-out of public charging. It calls for mandated targets on the rollout, backed by an independent regulator, which would ensure consumers’ needs are being met.
The SMMT highlights the disparity in the growth of EV registrations and availability of public charging. It notes that between 2019 and 2021, the number of plug-in cars on our roads grew by over 280 per cent, yet the number of standard (i.e. not rapid) charge points has increased by 69.8 per cent. Distilling the figures into pure EVs, and the growth in registrations of 586.8 per cent far outweighs the increase in rapid or ultra-rapid charge points, which grew by just 82.3 per cent over the past two years.
There are also strong regional disparities in the availability of public charging infrastructure. In the North of England, it stands at 52 EVs for every public charger, whilst in the south it’s 30 EVs per charger. And whilst most EV owners charge most of the time at home, the reducing availability of quality public charging is driving both charging anxiety and limiting the ability of those without off-street parking to make the change to an electric car.
CEO of innovative on-street charging provider, Connected Kerb, Chris Pateman-Jones, commented: “Regional disparities in public electric vehicle charging rollouts must not prevent drivers from realising the huge benefits of driving electric. Only by overcoming these disparities can we achieve a fair and equal transition to cleaner transport.”
A seven-point plan has been drawn up by the SMMT to address the issues facing the rollout of charging infrastructure:
1. Embed consumer-centricity in policy and a national plan on charging infrastructure
2. Develop and implement a nationally coordinated but locally delivered infrastructure plan
3. Invest significantly to uplift all types of charging infrastructure, particularly public chargers, ahead of need
4. Set binding targets to ensure adequate public charge point provision and social equity
5. Enact proportionate regulation to deliver the best outcomes for consumer experience and expansion of provision
6. Provide adequate enabling support to incentivise and facilitate delivery of charging infrastructure
7. Ensure electricity networks are future-proofed and fit for purpose for zero emission mobility
Supporting this plan, the SMMT has proposed the creation of a new regulatory body which would be known as Ofcharge, to monitor the market including prices, and to enforce minimum charging standards. Like with other bodies – such as Ofgem and Ofwat – the idea would be to keep consumers at the heart of the rollout of charging and to make sure the push to switch to EVs by 2030 is properly supported.
Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the SMMT, said: “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 charge point network that makes electric mobility a reality for all, cutting emissions, driving growth and supporting consumers across the UK.”
Pateman-Jones of Connected Kerb added: “We welcome the SMMT’s call for new standards that would guarantee social equity in provision of charge points and ensure no one is left behind in the UK’s electric vehicle transition.”
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