‘Government must ensure EV charging is convenient and inexpensive’

The Transport Committee has set out a series of recommendations for the government to follow if it is to deliver on its target of 100% of new vehicle sales being zero emission by 2035

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The experience of charging an electric vehicle (EV) must be convenient, straightforward and inexpensive, the Transport Committee has urged the government.

In a new report, the committee of MPs makes a series of recommendations to government in order to ensure it can deliver on its target of 100% of new vehicle sales being zero emission by 2035.

The group emphasises that a clear policy framework is essential to ensure enough vehicles can be delivered, to guarantee sufficient charging infrastructure is available, to protect the electrical grid and to avoid any groups of consumers being unfairly left behind.

It stresses that EV owners should not face a postcode lottery where those in rural and off-grid areas are disadvantaged, suggesting that accessible and reliable charging infrastructure must be available everywhere across the country by 2030.

The Transport Committee notes that for electric vehicles to not cause problems for the grid, the government must insist that industry uses price to change charging habits to a ‘little-and-often’ approach and must also work to strengthen grid capabilities.

The latter would involve the government working directly with National Grid to identify areas where infrastructure coverage is lacking or where EVs are likely to place additional strain on the network.

The committee also recommends that government makes public charge provision a requirement of local development, works to protect public charging customers from excessive rates, and addresses discrepancies in VAT rates to ensure fairer pricing structures between domestic and public charging options.

Additionally, it calls for a zero emission vehicle mandate to be introduced to incentivise car manufacturers to steadily increase sales of zero emission vehicles and gradually phase-out internal combustion models.

Chair of the Transport Committee, Huw Merriman MP said: “As car usage returns to pre-pandemic levels, we must keep our sights locked on the target: all new cars and vans should be electric by 2035 at the latest. To help consumers see their route to a zero emission world, choosing to run an electric vehicle must be as seamless as possible. Today we offer a set of recommendations to help government hit the accelerator on its ambition.

“Putting guarantees in place on infrastructure is crucial but one report after another flags concerns to government about the provision of electric car charging infrastructure. Let ours be the last: it’s time that ministers set out the route map to delivering a network of services for everyone across the UK.

“The government’s inclusion of a ZEV mandate in a recent consultation is welcome but not enough on its own. Charging electric vehicles should be convenient, straightforward and inexpensive and drivers must not be disadvantaged by where they live or how they charge their vehicles. Shifting the subsidy from the taxpayer to the manufacturer will incentivise those who deliver the fewest electric vehicles in our showrooms to up their game.

“Unless the National Grid gains more capacity, consumer behaviour will have to alter so that charging takes place when supply can meet the additional demand. The alternative will be blackouts in parts of the country. We also cannot have a repeat of the broadband and mobile ‘not spot’ lottery which would mean those in remote parts cannot join the electric vehicle revolution.”