The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is launching a market study into electric vehicle (EV) charging to make sure that the sector delivers for drivers.
With the Government bringing forward the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans to 2030, the CMA says the UK’s charging infrastructure will be crucial to the increased adoption of EVs.
The UK currently has almost 20,000 charge points, up from around 1,500 in 2011 – although the CMA says that more will be needed in the future.
The CMA is therefore considering how to ensure the sector works well for people now and in the future, which will help to build trust in the service and address any competition issues.
Research shows that ‘range anxiety’ or not being able to recharge while out and about is a key concern for many consumers – so it is essential that drivers can access a charge point when they need one, it says.
Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, explained: “Making the switch to electric vehicles is key to helping the UK become greener, which is why it’s so important that everyone has the confidence to get behind the move.
“Being able to easily stop off at a petrol station is a standard part of a journey and consumers must trust that electric charge points will provide a similarly straight-forward service.
“By getting involved early as electric vehicles and charge points are still developing, the CMA can make sure consumers are treated fairly now and in the future.”
The CMA’s work will centre on two broad themes:
- How to develop a competitive sector while also attracting private investment to help the sector grow.
- How to ensure people using electric vehicle charge points have confidence that they can get the best out of the service.
Good Energy, the 100% renewable power provider, welcomed the news that the CMA was launching the investigation.
The company recently took a majority stake in Zap-Map, the app and charging platform for EV drivers.
Juliet Davenport, CEO and founder at Good Energy, said: “This is a timely study which will strengthen the UK’s EV charging network.
“Electrification of transport is crucial for the UK to achieve its climate goals. Regulators and policy makers will play a crucial role both in setting the tone in these fast-growing markets and to ensure structural issues do not inhibit this transformative opportunity.”
She continued: "More needs to be done to ensure that networks, companies and regulators act in a joined-up fashion to deliver the best experience for EV drivers as part of this transition. We look forward to working with the CMA as the study progresses”.
The CMA intends to conclude its market study within the 12-month deadline, so that it can help shape competition and boost consumer confidence in this developing sector.
Market studies can make recommendations to Government or other bodies, and issue guidance to businesses and consumers as needed, among other options.
Polly Billington, director at UK100, told Virtual Fleet and Mobility Live that the Government must commit to “seamless access” to EV infrastructure across the UK to accelerate the uptake of plug-in vehicles by businesses.
“If we want to give people confidence that buying or leasing or hiring an electric car is the right thing to do then the infrastructure needs to be there,” she said.