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EV chargers should be just as important as petrol stations, says MP

EV chargers should be just as important as petrol stations, says MP

2022-04-01

Government should regard the prevalence of proper function of electric vehicle (EV) chargers to be just as important as petrol stations are for fossil fuel cars, a Tory MP has said.

Sir Bill Wiggin, who is an electric car driver, urged ministers to set “strong standards” for the maintenance of EV chargers across the UK as it is “clear” getting the public into electric cars is a “key” part of the Government’s net zero ambitions.

The MP for North Herefordshire joked he could be persuaded about the reintroduction of the death penalty for “the failure to maintain an EV charging site”.

told MPs: “Over a quarter of the UK’s net greenhouse gas emissions come from the transport sector. Therefore, it’s clear that getting the public into electric cars is a key part of the Government’s ambition to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

“However, we all want the public to be persuaded to abandon their fossil fuel powered cars rather than forced. To help achieve this we need to ensure that owning an electric vehicle is as convenient as owning a traditionally powered vehicle.

“The main way of fulfilling this ambition must focus on range anxiety, and part of the solution to this serious concern is the ability to easily and quickly recharge electric cars.

“Therefore, the Government should regard the prevalence of proper function of EV chargers to be just as important as petrol stations are for fossil fuel vehicles.”

Sir Bill noted the Government has already invested heavily in developing a network of fast chargers across the UK, with more than 500 new fast charging points being installed across the UK every month.

However, he insisted, these fast charging points “currently suffer from a multitude of issues, which prevent consumers from buying into this technology”.

He said: “Not least that fast chargers can range from 7.5 kilowatts to 22 kilowatts. These are not fast. And this is one of the massive key failings in the Government’s report. Other issues include reliability, ease of use, and the impossibility for tracking down chargers when the need arises.”

Sir Bill said the Government must set “strong standards for the maintenance of charging points”, adding: “This must be paired with penalties for companies that fail to meet them. Now, I’m not calling for the return of the death penalty. But I could be persuaded for its reintroduction for the failure to maintain an EV charging site.

“In addition, I’m calling for more and better information to be made available to EV owners about where they can charge their cars, and the location of all fast charging locations made available on all common map applications and car SatNavs.”

Transport minister Trudy Harrison replied: “There are a number of improvements that must be made, must be mandated if we are to secure the transition we want away from fossil fuel vehicles to a far more electrified transport network.

“On reliability, we’re ensuring that public charge points will be reliable. We’re doing that by mandating a 99% reliability charging requirement across the rapid network. That will include trunk roads and motorway service areas, of which there are 114.”

Ms Harrison added: “We’re also going to publish a league table of all charge point operators in the UK and we’re mandating a 24/7 helpline that must be free for consumers to use at every charge point in the UK.”

The minister said the Government will also ensure data is made openly available to help people find a “reliable, working and available charge point”.

Pricing transparency will also be required, Ms Harrison said.

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