"Our electric car charging network needs to improve"

Steve Fowler thinks competition is key to providing a better electric car charging experience

This week’s announcement by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) of a study into the electric vehicle charging sector has the potential to help banish one of the big issues preventing people from making the now inevitable switch to electrification: charge anxiety.

With most new electric cars offering realistic ranges of at least 150-200 miles, it’s far easier to adapt to a new mindset and take the plunge. But the big issue that we consistently hear of is a lack of confidence in the charging network; it’s simply not accessible or reliable enough.

Chances are that if you’re test driving an electric car, then you won’t yet have home charging, so you’ll need a good experience from the UK’s charging network to help persuade you to switch. But all too often we hear of bad experiences. However, as more people without the ability to charge at home switch to EVs, the UK’s public charging network will become ever more important.

So what do we want the CMA to look at? Private investment has seen this sector grow massively, but we need these companies to ensure the technology, reliability and service levels meet a required standard. All too often, as users tell us, they don’t.

That’s especially true on motorways, where one provider, Ecotricity, has a virtual monopoly at service areas. Unfortunately, it came bottom of our Driver Power survey into EV charging companies, but without competition at its sites, it’s no surprise when users complain of an outdated and unreliable network.

In our view, allowing competition for charging points on our motorways (and elsewhere) is an essential step. But so are standards that need to be met for price, reliability and technology. Nobody wants regulation, yet there isn’t even an industry body among charging companies that exists to share best practice. Let’s hope the CMA comes up with robust suggestions that the Government will act upon to improve the EV charging experience for us all. 

Check out our run-down of the best electric chargepoint providers here...

Recommended

'Judging by 2020's stats, demand for EVs is growing'
Opinion - electric cars
Opinion

'Judging by 2020's stats, demand for EVs is growing'

Steve Fowler finds some positive all-electric figures from a year of sales doom and gloom
13 Jan 2021
‘Your car may not be the most efficient tool for your new, lower-mileage life’
Opinion

‘Your car may not be the most efficient tool for your new, lower-mileage life’

Mike Rutherford thinks now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your modes of transport
20 Dec 2020
Pester power from kids pushes parents towards electric cars
News

Pester power from kids pushes parents towards electric cars

More than half of UK children want their parents to make the switch to an electrified car
27 Oct 2020
Government should place 15% EV quota on car manufacturers, campaigners say
Electric cars

Government should place 15% EV quota on car manufacturers, campaigners say

Global Action Plan and FIA Foundation claim 59 per cent of two-car families could run an electric car without any hindrance
17 Aug 2020

Most Popular

New all-electric Opel Manta GSe ElektroMOD reimagines the classic coupe
Opel Manta GSe ElektroMOD - front
Vauxhall

New all-electric Opel Manta GSe ElektroMOD reimagines the classic coupe

The Opel Manta GSe ElektroMOD EV reboots the iconic Manta coupe for the electric era
20 Apr 2021
Stellantis maps out future EV platforms with up to 497 miles of range
Stellantis battery
Peugeot

Stellantis maps out future EV platforms with up to 497 miles of range

Four new EV platforms for Stellantis Group, the first of which we’ll see in 2023
20 Apr 2021
Volkswagen ID.4 named World Car of the Year 2021
Volkswagen ID.4 - front static
Volkswagen ID.4 SUV

Volkswagen ID.4 named World Car of the Year 2021

Volkswagen reigns supreme with all-electric ID.4 SUV taking top World Car of the Year honours
20 Apr 2021