Is EV Charging Confusing?

Sun 21st Mar 2021

The UK’s electric vehicle charging network is in danger of short-circuiting the government’s plans for a fast track to EV domination according to one of the country’s biggest consumer groups.

Which? magazine has found ‘serious issues’ with the ‘disjointed’ electric car charging system, with public perception potentially putting off people from buying electric vehicles.

The Which? research found that there are currently 30 different electric vehicle charging providers in the UK, with almost every single one of them requiring a bespoke app, login or subscription to use the point. Some even use a technology called Radio Frequency Identification, which is card which automatically recognises your card. Some points accept card payments, whilst some do not.

And with more and more cars allowing for rapid charging, the current infrastructure is not built to meet demand, with just eight per cent offering the faster 25-100kW chargers with a card payments.

The analysis also found that while there were options for some drivers to just turn up and pay with a contactless debit card, in the case of the BP Pulse network, that can mean a 5p premium, which could cost more than £140 over a year.

One solution would be for companies like Tesla to open up their network of chargers to all car brands, though the company refused to comment on that prospect, despite many believing that the technology just needs a switch inside the charger.

Harry Rose, Which? Magazine Editor, said: “Millions of consumers will be expected to own electric cars in less than a decade, but the public charging network is disjointed and in dire need of reform to ensure it is a viable option for all consumers, especially those who do not have access to a private charger.

“The lack of universal access to the various charging networks must be addressed and a much simpler pricing structure is needed so consumers can easily compare prices across providers and ensure they are not overcharged.”