Electric car chargers must be 99% reliable

New laws will mandate standards of reliability and usability – with big fines for the electric car charging companies who fail to meet them...

Public electric car chargers

Electric car chargers in the UK must be at least 99% reliable and provide real-time updates about availability, under new laws that are set to be introduced later this year.

The new Public Charge Point regulations are intended to help increase the uptake of electric cars (EVs) by making the UK’s network of public charging points more attractive for drivers to use. Ministers have said that measures demanded by the new regulations should create a “world class” charging grid.

As part of its focus on charger reliability, the rules say charging devices should be durable and capable of withstanding constant use, and they should clearly display which ones are working and available.

Hive using public chargers

All new charging points that supply current at rates of 8kW or faster must also offer contactless payment under the new regulations, as well as allowing drivers to pay using third-party providers – such as Apple Pay. This measure removes the need for drivers to download a range of smartphone apps in order to use multiple charging networks.

Charging providers must also clearly display the cost to charge a vehicle, either on the device itself or via the user’s phone.

Providers that fail to comply with the new rules face fines of up to £10,000 per device deemed to be in breach.

The charging industry has reacted positively to the new rules. The head of industry body Charge UK, Ian Johnston, said consumer confidence in the charging infrastructure is “vital”, and that his industry is “committed to making the UK the best place to charge an EV”.

On phone trying to get electric car charger to work

Similarly, the president of roadside assistance provider the AA, Edmund King, said the push for reliability will “help to show drivers in real time the benefits of driving electric”.

However, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says the next step should be to mandate contactless payment for chargers slower than 8kW. SMMT boss Mike Hawes said doing so would “benefit drivers who rely on on-street or destination chargers”.

The Public Charge Point regulations have been accompanied by a £1.6bn investment designed to add 300,000 new charge points by 2030. According to charging locator Zap Map, there are currently more than 444,000 chargers spread across 25,000 locations in the UK. So far in 2023, sales of purely electric cars have represented 16.1% of the market.

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