The car industry is urging the establishment of an electric charge watchdog

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has appealed for the creation of a watchdog to supervise the pricing and accessibility of electric car charging, as the sales of electric vehicles are surpassing the expansion of charging infrastructure.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) stated that a regulatory body is required to oversee the market. In response, the government announced a funding of £1.3 billion to facilitate the expansion of the charging network.

Industry figures reveal that from 2011 to 2021, the number of charge points in the UK rose significantly from approximately 1,500 to over 48,000. However, between 2019 and 2021, the growth rate of electric cars on the road surpassed the pace of charge point deployment.

Additionally, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) highlighted the unequal distribution of charge point rollout, with the south of England experiencing faster progress compared to the north. In response, the SMMT urged the government to establish a new regulatory body named “Ofcharge” (Office of Charging) to oversee the market.

The SMMT emphasized that public charging points continue to play a vital role in maintaining consumer confidence and are relied upon by commercial fleets and approximately one-third of British households that lack off-street parking facilities.

The sales of electric cars are skyrocketing as they are regarded as a means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, which became the leading emitter in the UK in 2016. However, despite the increasing interest in electric cars, this enthusiasm has not yet resulted in a substantial number of electric vehicles on the roads.

During 2020, the count of battery electric cars on the road witnessed a remarkable 114% surge, reaching a record high of nearly 200,000. Additionally, plug-in hybrids experienced a 35% increase, totaling just under 240,000 vehicles. Furthermore, there has been a notable upswing in the demand for second-hand electric cars.

Despite the significant growth, electric cars still constitute a minuscule portion, merely 1.3%, of the total vehicles present on UK roads. While businesses have shown enthusiasm through fleet purchases, the car industry is actively advocating for consumer adoption of electric cars as well.

According to the car industry, there are significant concerns among people regarding electric cars, particularly regarding the cost of purchasing a vehicle and the availability of sufficient charging points, especially for longer journeys. Additionally, MPs raised concerns last summer about the high cost of public charging, which was considerably more expensive compared to charging a car at home. It is worth noting that energy prices have risen significantly since then.

Mike Hawes, the Chief Executive of the SMMT, has called for “clear targets” and increased government support for the widespread implementation of charge points.

In response, a spokesperson from the Department for Transport stated that the government is providing over £1.3 billion to facilitate the expansion of charge points across homes, businesses, and residential streets throughout the UK. The spokesperson also mentioned that the government will soon publish its electric vehicle infrastructure plan.

They emphasized the collaboration with local authorities to ensure their involvement in the transition and the encouragement for the utilization of the on-street residential charge point scheme, which received a £20 million commitment last year for public charge point deployment in residential areas.

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By Ryan

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