With Britain on course to switch entirely from petrol and diesel to electric in the next decade, there are already plenty of good reasons to take an EV charging course. But the demand for people to fit them could accelerate sooner after the announcement of new measures to help drivers use public chargers more easily.
Proposed new regulations to be brought before Parliament by the Department of Transport will make the process of using public chargers easier. These will include more transparency over pricing, contactless payments and single-app ‘payment roaming’.
One of the problems at present is that EV owners have to sign up for different charging networks to be able to use all the different public chargers in use.
The new regulations aim to make the process a lot smoother and ensure motorists are never left stuck because they have encountered a charger they haven’t signed up to use. This could help reduce ‘range anxiety’ – the fear drivers have of being stranded because their battery runs out with no usable charger to hand.
Commenting on the plans, transport technology and decarbonisation minister Jesse Norman said: “As demand for electric vehicles continues to grow, the government wants to make sure that drivers continue to have confidence in the UK’s charging network.”
The plans have been welcomed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, with chief executive Mike Hawes commenting: “The announced measures to improve the UK’s EV charging experience will give everyone increased confidence in the network, something that is crucial to driving uptake and reducing emissions.”
While easier charging will help with the uptake of electric vehicles, there remains a challenge to ensure that there are enough chargers all over the UK.
At present, there are huge regional differentials, with government figures (based on Zapmap statistics) released in June showing there were 59.9 devices per 100,000 across the UK as a whole, but this varied enormously between local authorities.
For instance, in central London, there were 1,070.8 per 100,000 in Westminster and 661.4 in the City of London, but anyone driving from there to Essex would find just 3.3 per 100,000 in Castle Point.