Overpriced electric car charging stations will be clamped down in the new year by the government, after fears that high prices are putting off buyers of electric and hybrid cars and making them as expensive to run as diesels.
New rules in 2017 will set common standards for pricing between suppliers, according to The Times newspaper. Currently motorists can expect to pay up to £7.50 for a half-hour charge at some roadside charging stations.
Reforms could include capping maximum charges and removing the need for multiple memberships across different companies that run charging stations.
MPs filed a report in September that showed uptake of electric cars was below expectation. The government set a target of 9 per cent of new cars and vans on British to be classed as ultra-low emissions vehicles by 2020, but the environmental audit committee predicted the current rate shows that number would only be 7 per cent.
To make electric cars more appealing, the government is looking to make charging easier and keep costs down for motorists.
Range-anxiety is a hugely prohibitive factor in purchasing electric cars and a more user-friendly, affordable and comprehensive roadside charging system - especially in rural areas and motorways - would go some way to making electric cars a more realistic possibility for buyers.
There are around 11,000 charging stations in the UK and currently Chargemaster (which runs the Polar charge point system) provides the UK’s largest EV charging network with 6000 charging points available. For £7.85 per month, subscribers have access to all charging stations including the 5000 that are free.
For non-subscribers, a £1.20 pay-as-you-go fee is chargeable, while some stations charge more than £7 for a half-hour rapid charge.
Ecotricity runs the majority of motorway charging points and charges £6 for a 30-minute charge, but the cost is free as part of Ecotricity’s home energy customer subscription.
Proposals for change will be presented in the Modern Transport Bill, which is expected to be presented to the government in early 2017.
A spokesperson from the Department for Transport told The Times:
“The number of ultra-low emission vehicles on our roads are at record levels and we want to see a reliable and hassle-free public charging network so the sector can continue to grow.
“We are looking at ways to make public chargepoints more convenient for motorists, such as simplifying memberships, making pricing more consistent and transparent and making chargepoints easier to operate.”