Government urged to create electric car charge watchdog

The industry has called for the creation of a new regulatory body called the Office of Charging.

16 February 2022

The Government should create an independent watchdog to regulate electric car charging prices and ensure widespread chargepoints across the UK, an industry group has said.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show plug-in vehicles accounted for more than one in six new cars registered in the UK last year.

The SMMT said in a statement on Wednesday growth is moving much faster than the rollout of charging points, particularly in the north of England compared to the south.

The industry has called for the creation of a new regulatory body called the Office of Charging – Ofcharge – to monitor the market, including charging price levels and affordability, and to enforce regulated minimum standards.

“This would keep the consumer at the heart of infrastructure planning and rollout to ensure every region of the UK is in readiness for the end of sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030, with a unified approach bringing together drivers, chargepoint operators, energy companies and local authorities,” the SMMT said in a statement.

The sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be banned in the UK from 2030.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said the industry “needs more than automotive investment” to achieve the transition smoothly.

He said: “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, Government can ensure the UK has a chargepoint network that makes electric mobility a reality for all, cutting emissions, driving growth and supporting consumers across the UK.”

It comes after research released last month found electric car owners face a “postcode lottery” when it comes to the cost of using council-owned charging points.

Figures for more than 400 councils obtained by British Gas showed 21 councils across England and Wales allow motorists to top up their batteries for free, while drivers in other areas are charged up to £4 per kilowatt hour (kWh).

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