Government launches consultation to improve EV user experience

Whitehall is all systems go with electric cars, announcing £50 million of additional spending to help boost demand and uptake in the EV sector.

Not only that, but the government is also keen to hear from existing EV users through a consultation, in order to identify recurring issues and improve the overall experience of investing in electric cars. The £50 million scheme will be open to small businesses, as well as those based in leasehold or rented housing, to help fund the installation of additional chargepoints all over the country.

From Cumbria to Cornwall, drivers across the country should benefit from the electric vehicle revolution we’re seeing right now.

– Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary

As previously covered last year, EV users were most focused on the issue of range anxiety, in which drivers are concerned that there are simply not enough EV charge points dotted across the UK. Insufficient chargepoints could mean the risk of breakdown is higher, and do much to dissuade potential users from making the leap from combustion engine cars to electric ones.

The government goes green

The government’s new scheme and consultation come just days after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced £20 million in new spending to help increase the number of on-street EV chargepoints in towns and cities across the country.

Mr Shapps claimed: “With a world-leading charging network, we’re making it easier for more people to switch to electric vehicles, creating healthier neighbourhoods and cleaning up our air as we build back greener.”

Cleaner air is something that the EFRA Committee has been highlighting in recent weeks, urging the government to show more ambitious plans, as the UK emerges from lockdown in 2021 and beyond. Lockdown has seen a surge in interest in EVs, while emissions briefly dropped sharply, as people stayed at home and kept cars off the roads.

Improving the UK’s EV experience

The impending consultation launched by the government is expected to cover a number of key concerns when it comes to using EVs. The Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles (OZEV) intends to propose fresh regulations which make payment easier, while also ‘opening up’ chargepoint data. Not only that, but OZEV plans to propose new rules which enforce a single payment metric.

We’re therefore encouraging local authorities to access this funding as part of their plans to decarbonise transport and improve local air quality.

– Nick Harvey, senior programme manager at Energy Saving Trust

Concerns which the consultation will shine a light on include accessibility for disabled users, ensuring chargepoints are sufficiently lit and protected from all weather conditions throughout the year, as well as the state of chargepoint signage. It’s one thing to orchestrate the creation of new EV chargepoints, but it means nought, if drivers are unable to locate or even use EV charging infrastructure, unless they are properly signposted or maintained.

The extra spending on EV infrastructure and the consultation are tangible steps being taken by the government, to nurture a greener way of getting around, but such moves can only go so far. It’s up to the average Brit to make the leap into EV, and only time will tell whether the government’s actions pay for themselves.

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