Further action needed on EV charging to meet Net Zero

The Competition and Markets Authority has set out measures to ensure a national network of electric vehicle chargepoints is in place ahead of the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.

The CMA has examined whether the industry can deliver a comprehensive UK charging network that works competitively and that people can trust and says that, while some parts of this new sector are developing relatively well, it also found that other parts are facing problems which will hinder roll-out.

If that trend continues, the body says that it could impact the government’s plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and its wider commitment to make the UK net zero by 2050.

In particular, the CMA is concerned about the choice and availability of chargepoints at motorway service stations, where competition is limited; the roll-out of on-street charging by local authorities is too slow; and rural areas risk being left behind with too few chargepoints due to lack of investment.

There are also widespread concerns about the reliability of chargepoints, difficulties in comparing prices and paying for charging, risk reducing people’s confidence and trust.

The UK has around 25,000 chargepoints currently and, while there is still uncertainty, forecasts suggest more than ten times this amount will be needed by 2030.

Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said: “Electric vehicles play a critical role in meeting Net Zero but the challenges with creating an entirely new charging network should not be underestimated. Some areas of the roll-out are going well and the UK’s network is growing – but it’s clear that other parts, like charging at motorway service stations and on-street, have much bigger hurdles to overcome.

“There needs to be action now to address the postcode lottery in electric vehicle charging as we approach the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. Our recommendations will promote strong competition, encourage more investment, and build people’s trust, both now and in the future. The CMA has also opened a competition law investigation into EV charging along motorways and will continue to work with government and the industry to help ensure electric vehicle charging is a success.”

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