The UK’s competition watchdog has today urged the government to accelerate the roll-out of its electric vehicle charging points, describing the current situation as a “postcode lottery”.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that it was particularly concerned by the choice and availability of chargepoints at motorway service stations.
It also said that the roll-out of on-street charging by local authorities was too slow, and rural areas were at risk of being left behind.
Unless these issues are addressed, the CMA said they 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.
At the moment, there are around 25,000 charge points in the UK, but it is estimated this will need to increase tenfold by the end of the decade.
Despite the concerns, the CMA said that at locations such as shopping centres, workplaces and people’s private parking the roll-out was going “relatively well”.
Bu it said that the government should lay out a national strategy outlining how it plans to speed up the roll-out over the next ten years.
As part of this, it should define a clear role for local authorities to manage the roll-out in their area and providing funding for the expertise needed for this to happen.
The CMA also said it had launched a competition law investigation into long-term exclusive arrangements between the Electric Highway – a charge point provider – and three motorway service operators – MOTO, Roadchef and Extra.
Currently, the Electric Highway provides 80 per cent of all charge points at motorway service stations and its long-term exclusive arrangements, which last between 10-15 years, cover around two-thirds of motorway service stations.
CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli 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.
City A.M. has contacted the DfT for comment.