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Electric vehicle charging sector probed by watchdog

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Electric vehicle charging will come under the spotlight by the competition watchdog amid concerns of driver ‘range anxiety’ which could impact the success and trust of the sector.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is launching a market study into electric vehicle charging to ensure this new and fast-growing sector works well for UK drivers.

It comes just a couple of weeks after the government fast-tracked the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2030 – 10 years earlier than initially envisaged.

The CMA said this makes the switch to electric vehicles more imminent for UK drivers and as such, it will take a close look at the electric vehicle charging sector which is crucial to the roll-out of electric vehicles.

While it is still in the early stages of development, it is a fast-growing sector and there are around 20,000 chargepoints. This is up from 1,500 in 2011.

But research suggests drivers have ‘range anxiety’, with concerns they won’t be able to recharge their battery while out and about.

Therefore, the CMA said it is essential drivers can access chargepoints when needed – with more of the infrastructure required as part of the electric revolution.

Its study will look at how to develop a competitive sector while also attracting private investment to help the sector grow, and how to ensure people using electric vehicle chargepoints have confidence they can get the best out of the service.

It will look at charging in home settings and off-street parking; on-street parking; workplace; hub and destination; and en-route charging.

The CMA intends to conclude its market study within a 12-month deadline. Market studies can make recommendations to government or other bodies, and issue guidance to businesses and consumers.

Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, 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 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.”

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