UK car industry calls for electric vehicle charger mandate

The UK’s car manufacturing industry has called on the country’s government to mandate targets for rolling out electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and to 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.”

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 charge-points 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 across the UK, which need to be addressed in any infrastructure plan.

The car lobby has consistently said that a lack of public chargers discourages many consumers from adopting a new, unfamiliar technology.

European and US 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 Biden administration has already pledged federal funds as part of a wider move to electric vehicles.

he White House wants to encourage Americans to move away from petrol-powered vehicles even as efforts to win substantial additional funding for electric vehicles in Congress have stalled.

The administration will make $615 million available in 2022 but states must first submit plans and win federal approval.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said funding “will help us win the EV race by working with states, labor, and the private sector to deploy a historic nationwide charging network.”

By 2030, President Biden wants 50% of all new vehicles sold to be electric or plug-in hybrid electric models and 500,000 new electric vehicle charging stations. However, he has not endorsed phasing out new gasoline-powered vehicle sales by 2030.

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