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SMMT wants new regulator to help ease EV 'charging anxiety'

Nissan Vehicle to Grid V2G charge points

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is calling on Government to create a new regulator to accelerate the expansion of the electric vehicle (EV) charge points and boost public confidence in the technology.

The SMMT today issued a seven-point plan, including the proposed creation of ‘Ofcharge’ and binding targets for chargepoint rollout, as part of a bid to “secure UK’s zero emission future”.

A 3,000% increase in the number of public charge points since 2011 has resulted in a ratio of one rapid charger per 32 EVs in the UK, according to the SMMT.

The figure is the best in the Western world, behind only China (1:11), South Korea (1:12) and Japan (1:17).

But a 280% rise in the number of plug-in cars on UK roads between 2019 and 2021, as charge points increased by just 69.8% with a 586.8% rise in pure EVs accompanied by an 82% rise in rapid/ultra-rapid charger stock.

The SMMT said: “This is undermining consumer confidence to make the switch, with range anxiety now replaced by charging anxiety.”

The industry body wants every driver in Britain to benefit from “an electric vehicle charging network that is affordable, available and accessible to all”.

SMMT chief executive, Mike HawesSMMT 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commitment of all other stakeholders, especially the charging industry as surveys show that range anxiety has been replaced by charging anxiety.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 step plan to delivering consumer-centric charging infrastructure for zero emission mobility is comprised of the following elements:

  • Embed consumer-centricity in policy and a national plan on charging infrastructure
  • Develop and implement a nationally coordinated 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

If action is taken, the SMMT forecasts the new plug-in car market will continue to grow rapidly, resulting in a UK car parc comprising 9.3m plug-in cars by 2030 (27%) and 18.4 million by 2035 (54.8%), of which 6.9 million (20.1%) and 15.3 million (45.6%) respectively are zero emission.

For full details of the SMMT plan click here.

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