Are You In An EV Hot Spot Or Not Spot?

Wed 20th Apr 2022

Experienced electric vehicle drivers will be well aware of some of the worries when driving an EV, but perhaps having a low mobile phone signal was not one that any expected to be an issue.

But for thousands of regular EV users, the concern over whether your phone has a signal is very real, particularly when the app you use to connect to a charger requires a full signal.

Latest research has revealed that one in five A and B roads in 22 local authorities have problems with a mobile phone signal when trying to charge their cars, with the problem so bad that Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently asked for a map of problem ‘not spots’ to be published.

Issues with charging have long been a major blocker to consumers making the switch to electric vehicles, and there are some areas of the UK which have more ‘not spots’ than hot spots.

The remote region of Argyll and Bute in Scotland has big problems, with 56 per cent of the territory not having enough signal to charge an EV. But it's not just extremely distant areas which suffer, Richmondshire in North Yorkshire has problem roads in 28 per cent of the region.

“There are few things more frustrating for EV drivers than turning up to a charge point that they can’t activate,” said Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation.

“This then fuels ‘charge anxiety’ among those as yet unpersuaded that an EV would work for them.

“Two things need to happen. First, we need an accurate picture of mobile signal connectivity across the road network, so that charge-point providers know in detail what’s available.

"And second, we need the charge points themselves to be kitted-out appropriately so that they function wherever they’re located and whichever mobile network their users subscribe to.”

The government is looking to Ofcom to provide a solution, particularly in rural areas where mobile reception is traditionally low. Switching to a more functional payment system should also be explored, with contactless cards able to be used for both petrol and electric fuel.