Which? is calling on the Government to make urgent improvements to the UK’s charging infrastructure to allow drivers to confidently switch to electric vehicles. A new survey has found that three-quarters of electric car owners report that they are dissatisfied with the current EV infrastructure.
This comes as new research has found significant flaws with the networks putting some drivers off from switching to electric cars.
Complaints include poor reliability and confusing payment options, as well as doing more to ensure charge points are available where drivers need them.
The survey of almost 1,500 Which? members who own an EV or plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) highlights current difficulties with finding a charger that works.
Half of EV drivers who use the public charging infrastructure find it a challenge simply to find a charging point in good working condition.
They are also calling on the Government to extend the planned reliability standard for rapid charge points to cover all public charge points, to drive improvements across the entire infrastructure.
This “reliability standard” means that charge point networks have to be in working order for an average of 99 percent of the time.
Sue Davies, Which? Head of Consumer Protection Policy, urged the Government to make changes to help drivers have the confidence to switch to electric.
She said: “Our research shows that the public EV charging infrastructure is falling short as many drivers struggle to find reliable charging points in good working order, have to navigate confusing payment systems, or are unable to rely on adequate charging points close to their homes or to get them through a long journey.
“The Government must move quickly to implement its plans to improve the consumer experience of using the public charging networks by extending reliability standards across the full network and ensuring proposals for payment roaming make paying to charge much simpler.
“Charging must be easy, reliable and seamless to support people making the move to an electric car.”
Which? is also urging the Government to ensure its proposals for “payment roaming” will mean consumers no longer need to navigate multiple apps and cards to pay for charging.
It believes drivers should be able to pay via bank card wherever possible, or via a single app or payment card that is accepted by all networks.
After the Government scrapped the Plug-in Car Grant in June, it pledged to improve public charging stations.
It said drivers could benefit from “significantly lower running and refuelling costs”, sometimes as low as 2p per mile.
The Government also promised drivers that they could see a surge in cheaper, more reliable and quicker public chargepoints.
This is part of its commitment to increase the level of on-street chargers by 10 times before 2030.
Since 2020, the Government has committed £2.5billion to plug-in vehicle grants, infrastructure and the wider transition to electric vehicles in the UK