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CMA launches EV charging sector study to tackle range anxiety and promote competition

Image: gov.uk.

Image: gov.uk.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a study into to the electric vehicle (EV) charging sector to ensure the fast-growing area works for UK drivers.

It will examine two broad themes, firstly how to both develop a competitive sector and attract private investment to help it grow. Secondly, the CMA will look into how people can use chargepoints with confidence that they will get the best of out of the service.

In particular this will help the government assess how to tackle range anxiety, which research still shows is a key concern for drivers. In September, Ford released a study that showed range anxiety was one of the most significant barrier for EV adoption, with 37% of participants citing it, while 53% cited affordability and 51% cited concerns over where to charge.

The CMA’s study follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson bringing forwards the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by five years to 2030 in November, making the rollout of charging infrastructure all the more pressing.

Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said that switching to EVs was key to the UK becoming greener, “which is why it’s so important that everyone has the confidence to get behind the move".

“Being able to easily stop off at a petrol station is a standard part of a journey and consumers must trust that electric chargepoints will provide a similarly straight-forward service.

“By getting involved early as electric vehicles and chargepoints are still developing, the CMA can make sure consumers are treated fairly now and in the future,” she added.

While still young, the charging sector has grown dramatically in recent years, with almost 20,000 chargepoints in the UK, up from about 1,500 in 2011.

With sales of EVs continuing to grow however, the sector needs to expand dramatically ahead of the 2030 petrol and diesel pan. Sales of battery BEVs jumped 195% year-on-year in October, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, despite sales of cars dropping 1.6% for the month overall.

It has been a bumper year for the sale of EVs, with battery EV sales increasing 168.7% as of the end of October compared to 2019, with sales rising from 28,259 to 75,946.

The CMA has invited views of the supply of chargepoints for plug-in hybrid and all-electric ‘passenger’ cars, charging range in different settings and en-route charging, with comments to be submitted by 5 January 2021.

It has a 12 month deadline to conclude the study, at which time it will make recommendations to the government and other bodies, businesses and consumers so it can help shape competition and boost consumer confidence.

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