A leading UK automotive industry body has called for “binding targets” for the rollout of electric car charging infrastructure. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the targets should form part of a seven-point plan to ensure electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure is good enough to encourage drivers to go electric.
As part of the plan, the SMMT said there should be “mandated targets” for infrastructure rollout, backed by an independent regulator “to keep consumers at the heart of planning”. The organisation, which represents car makers and dealers, said public chargers are “critical to consumer confidence” and vital to the third of British households that do not have designated off-street parking.
While the SMMT acknowledges the growth in the network, which has increased by 3,000 percent since 2011, the SMMT says charging infrastructure has “struggled to keep pace” with increases in demand for electric cars. The organisation says there has been a 586-percent increase in the number of battery electric cars on UK roads between 2019 and 2021, but the number of ultra and rapid chargers available only grew by 82.3 percent over the same period.
Now, the SMMT is proposing a “nationally coordinated and locally delivered” infrastructure plan designed to help EV drivers. And the organisation claims the system will also provide charge point operators and local authorities with “certainty” and targets to install the right number of the correct type of chargers in the right areas of the UK.
At the same time, the SMMT is calling for the creation of a new regulator, which it suggests calling “Ofcharge”, or the Office of Charging, to monitor the market and enforce minimum standards. It says this would ensure every part of the UK is ready for the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The automotive industry is up for the challenge of a zero-emission new car and van market by 2035,” said Mike Hawes, the SMMT’s chief executive. “Delivering this ambition – an ambition that would put the UK ahead of every major market in the world – needs more than automotive investment. It needs the commensurate commitment of all other stakeholders, especially the charging industry as surveys show that range anxiety has been replaced by charging anxiety.
“Our plan puts the consumer at the heart of this transition, assuring them of the best possible experience backed by an independent regulator. With clear, equivalent targets and support for operators and local authorities that match consumer needs, the government can ensure the UK has a charge point network that makes electric mobility a reality for all, cutting emissions, driving growth and supporting consumers across the UK.”