Faulty charging points make UK unfit for electric cars, says Which?

·2 min read
Majority of EV owners who use public chargers want the option of paying by a contactless bank card. Photo: John Walton/PA
Majority of EV owners who use public chargers want the option of paying by a contactless bank card. Photo: John Walton/PA

The majority of electric vehicle (EV) owners are unhappy with the UK’s public charging system, a survey suggests.

The Which? research of pure electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles highlights the difficulties many motorists face trying to find a charger that works.

The poll of almost 1,500 members of the consumer group found some 74% said they are dissatisfied with charging infrastructure.

Two out of five (40%) reported finding a non-working charger, while 61% have suffered difficulties making payments.

Of the respondents, 20% EV owners who no longer use the public charging infrastructure were put off by a lack of adequate charge points, while 21% of drivers who have never used the public networks have been put off for the same reason.

Meanwhile, 84% of EV owners who use public chargers want the option of paying by a contactless bank card, the survey suggests. Most charge points require drivers to pay through an app.

Distance was another issue, with 45% of those questioned estimating that the nearest public on-street charge point to their home is more than a 20-minute walk away.

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Sue Davies, head of consumer protection policy at Which?, 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."

The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show the rapid increase in sales of new pure electric cars has slowed in recent months.

The number of registrations during the first three months of the year was 102% more than during the same period in 2021. At the end of August, the year-to-date increase had fallen to 49%.

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