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UK car industry calls for EV charger mandate, regulatory oversight

UK car industry calls for EV charger mandate, regulatory oversight
UK car industry calls for EV charger mandate, regulatory oversight   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2022
By Reuters

By Nick Carey

LONDON – Britain’s auto industry called on the country’s government on Wednesday to mandate targets for rolling out electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and create a new regulatory body to oversee the market conditions and enforce minimum standards.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said in a statement that the industry has come up with a seven-point plan to improve lagging EV charging infrastructure in the country.

That plan includes calling for a national coordinated charging infrastructure plan and significant investments in chargers – especially public chargers.

The SMMT also called for formation of a new regulatory body, called “Ofcharge” or the Office of Charging. It would monitor price levels to ensure charging vehicles was affordable, and “enforce regulated minimum standards.”

Britain’s government has proposed an effective ban on fossil-fuel vehicles by 2030, while the European Commission has proposed a similar ban from 2035.

But the car industry and other groups say that a lack of public chargers discourages many consumers from adopting a new, unfamiliar technology.

European and U.S. cities planning to phase out combustion engines over the next 15 years also face a major challenge in providing access to enough public chargers for the millions of residents who park their cars on the street.

The SMMT said that while the number of plug-in cars on Britain’s roads jumped 280% between 2019 and 2021, the number of standard EV chargepoints rose by just 70%.

“This is undermining consumer confidence to make the switch, with range anxiety now replaced by charging anxiety,” the car industry group said.

The SMMT said there are also huge, growing regional disparities in charger availability in Britain, which need to be addressed in any infrastructure plan.