‘Makers need to raise their game on EV charging’

Both the government and car makers need to improve the UK's charging network, says Steve Fowler

I haven’t had the best experience with the UK’s EV charging network recently. If the government’s goal is to get us into electrified vehicles as soon as possible, it needs to do more than just leave it to the private sector. I’ve written to the transport secretary, Grant Shapps MP, about it, but am still awaiting a response; perhaps he’s trying to find a charger that works on the UK’s motorway network…

It’s not only the government that needs to step up, though. Car makers aren’t exactly jumping through hoops to make sure one of the remaining barriers to the uptake of electric vehicles is removed. The official response from the industry is that it’s not down to it to deliver
a charging network; car makers don’t have their own network of filling stations, they repeatedly tell us. 

• EV charging points to be installed in every new home

This is different, though. Car companies have to sell lots of EVs to help them meet CO2 targets. To do that they need to reassure buyers that the public charging network can be relied upon. And at the moment, it can’t. 

There is good growth in the number of new chargers being installed around the country, but it could be better. Ionity, a joint venture between BMW, Mercedes, Ford, Audi and Porsche is working away, but compared with other charging companies, it’s in its infancy.

While tearing my hair out trying to get a charger working with my Jaguar I-Pace at a service station on the M4, I looked across at the myriad Tesla Superchargers, with owners happily, easily and cheaply charging their cars. 

Here’s a company taking responsibility for every part of electric-car ownership, including charging. It means Tesla drivers have more chance of worry-free journeys than owners of other electric cars from different brands.

That’s a great shame. We love electric cars and they’re getting more appealing all the time. But the government and industry need to get the charging network sorted if they want to hit their goals on electric-car take-up.

Do you think the UK’s EV charging network should be invested in? Let us know in the comments below…

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