Watchdog probes electric vehicle-charging

The Competition and Markets Authority said range anxiety is a ‘key concern for many consumers’.

An electric vehicle charging point
An electric vehicle charging point

The competition watchdog has launched an inquiry into electric vehicle-charging to ensure drivers are “treated fairly now and in the future”.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will consider how to develop a competitive sector while attracting investment to help it grow, and how to boost motorists’ confidence in the infrastructure.

The CMA said research has shown that range anxiety – the fear of not being able to top up an electric car battery on a journey before it goes flat – is a “key concern for many consumers”.

People are more likely to make the switch to electric vehicles if they “see that the service will work for them”, it added.

There are 19,500 charging devices for public use in the UK, up from 2,700 in March 2015.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last month that sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be phased out by 2030 as part of a “green industrial revolution”.

CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said: “Making the switch to electric vehicles is key to helping the UK become 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 charge points will provide a similarly straightforward service.

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

The inquiry will take the form of a market study, which can make recommendations to the Government or other bodies, and issue guidance to businesses and consumers.

The CMA intends to conclude the work “well within” 12 months to enable it to “help shape competition and boost consumer confidence in this developing sector”.

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