UK public electric car network needs ‘urgent upgrade’

Which consumer group? He calls on the government to take action as it finds three out of four drivers are dissatisfied with the provision of public fees

The UK’s public electric car charger network urgently needs updating to address “major flaws” in terms of reliability and access, according to Which?

The consumer group called on the government to take urgent action to improve public infrastructure after finding that many drivers were still plagued by unreliable chargers and a confusing set of payment requirements.

He warned that some motorists have been turned away from public charging altogether and called on the government, Chargepoint operators and local councils to do more to improve savings and ease of use.

Which? It surveyed 1,500 of its members who drive plug-in electric or hybrid cars and found that 74% are dissatisfied with the current state of the UK’s public charging network.

The survey found that 40% of drivers had a broken charger

While some charging points, especially newer fast chargers, accept contactless payment by debit or credit card, many still require users to download an app or create a customer account for even a single charging session.

Infrastructure is deficient

The government announced plans earlier this year to force Chargepoint operators to simplify the payment process and improve reliability, but the head of consumer protection policy at Who? , Sue Davis, said the changes didn’t happen fast enough.

She said: “Our research shows that public electric vehicle charging infrastructure is deficient as many drivers struggle to find reliable charging points in good working order, have to navigate confusing payment systems, or are unable to rely on appropriate charging points near by. their homes or their long journey.

Among the legislation planned in the government’s electric vehicle infrastructure strategy, there is a requirement for a 99% reliability rate across all fast chargers. However, which one? He wants to extend this to all public chargers.

Ms. Davies added: “The government must move quickly to implement its plans to improve the consumer experience of using public charging networks by extending reliability standards across the entire network and ensuring that payment roaming proposals make paying tolls much easier. Drivers should be able to pay via Bank card where possible, or via a single application or payment card accepted by all networks.

“Charging needs to be easy, reliable, and seamless to support people transitioning to an electric vehicle.”

In response to the survey, RAC Electric Vehicles spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Having a high-quality charging infrastructure will be a key factor in helping more people switch from conventional vehicles to electric vehicles. It is critical that chargers are reliable, easy to use and accessible. to it, so we must quickly move from the era when it is common to find a charger out of use to one in which it is scarce.”

The study also found that electric vehicle drivers are critical of the spread of public infrastructure. The number of chargers is constantly growing across the country – up 34% since August 2021, with nearly 1,600 new devices installed in August 2022 alone – but many drivers feel there are still insufficient public options near them.

Nearly half (48%) believe they do not have sufficient access to charging points near their homes and 45% feel this is the case during trips. Of those who said they had stopped using the public network, a fifth said that this was due to its unavailability.

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