CMA concludes study on electric vehicle charging market
Following its launch a while back, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) concluded its study of the electric vehicle charging market. It had been considering how competition could be encouraged, as well as assessing the measures that need to be taken to ensure that consumers receive a good service from this sector.
While the CMA often launches investigations where there are suspected breaches of competition law, it also conducts more pre-emptive research, anticipating how developments in certain sectors could affect businesses and consumers moving forward. Such inquiries often look to ensure that interested parties can speak out about any concerns, and to put together figures and statistics to create a picture of the market.
The assessment of the electric vehicle charging market is, of course, timely, given the growing availability of electric vehicles and the cost of petrol, although electricity prices are also surging. This is as well as the government’s goal of 2030 as the year in which petrol and diesel vehicle sales could be banned. In light of these developments, the CMA outlined steps which should be taken to enable the sector to function effectively in future.
The findings of the electric vehicle charging market study
In December 2020, the CMA began its market study by inviting relevant parties to comment. They subsequently received responses from as many as 48 organisations.
Following their review and analysis of the information, the CMA published its findings last year.
The full report is available on the competition regulator’s website. In short, the CMA concluded that certain areas of the sector are said to be developing well, but the roll-out of charging points is reportedly being held back by certain problems. Charging points can be found relatively widely in locations like workplaces, people’s private parking at their houses, and at shopping centres, but motorway service stations are not as well populated, it is understood. A geographical disparity in the electric vehicle charging market was also identified, with London boasting four times as many charging points per head as those in Yorkshire and the Humber.
The recommendations of the CMA
The advice of the CMA with regard to the future of the electric vehicle charging market has been condensed into four key principles, which can be summarised as follows:
- Charging points should be easy to locate – which means providing up-to-date information on their availability.
- Charging must be easy to pay for – no sign-ups should be required, and contactless payment should be a widely available option.
- Pricing should be standardised to make it clear and easy to understand – e.g. pounds per kilowatt.
- Charging must be accessible – for example, any electric vehicle should be able to use any charging point.
Perhaps the most startling recommendation is the one on the number of charging points that will be required by 2030. The CMA suggested that the UK will need more than ten times the 25,000 currently available in order to serve the predicted increase in electric vehicles on our roads.
You can read more about this on the CMA website here.
The future of electric vehicles
As the electric vehicle charging market develops and looks toward the UK’s net-zero target, there are many challenges to be met. The CMA’s market study offered some insight into the bumps in the road ahead and, hopefully, its recommendations will help consumers to adjust to the shift from petrol and diesel to electric.
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