EV drivers struggle with chargepoint connectivity issues across Britain – report

Man holding electric car charger plug type 1 at charging station in carpark

According to a survey, drivers of electric vehicles (EVs) may find it difficult to utilise nearly two-thirds of the most popular kind of public chargepoint in Britain due to inconsistent mobile signals.

The research’s source, the RAC Foundation, issued a warning, claiming that the problem could “undermine” trust in EV infrastructure.

According to the report, 66% of Type-2 chargers, which can reach speeds of up to 8 kW, are located outside of London in regions of the United Kingdom where at least one mobile network operator does not offer 4G service.

The percentage in the capital is only little lower, at 61.3%.

Drivers must use mobile phone apps to access the great majority of Type-2 public chargers, and the chargers themselves require a strong enough mobile connection to operate.

A driver runs the risk of not being able to recharge their electric vehicle (EV) unless all four of Britain’s mobile network providers—EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone—offer sufficient service at the charger’s location, the survey said.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: “Drivers of vehicles fuelled by petrol and diesel are used to reliable and hassle-free filling up at any of the 8,400 forecourts across Britain.

“The same cannot yet be said of topping up the battery of an electric car at a public chargepoint.

“Where signal connectivity at a chargepoint is a problem, drivers might conclude that the charger is at fault, hence undermining the confidence we should be building in the reliability of public charging options for electric vehicles.”

Mr. Gooding issued a warning, stating that since the government’s new mandatory reporting mechanism only applies to the rapid charger network, poor connectivity for Type-2 chargers “won’t get picked up.”

He advocated for a “better approach” to drawing attention to connectivity problems so that designers might provide “workarounds” like satellite internet access and wi-fi hotspots.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) made fresh appeals for electric vehicle (EV) purchase incentives last week, following data that indicated a decrease in the market share of EVs.

Pure electric vehicles made up about 15.2% of newly registered vehicles in March, compared to 16.2% in the same month the previous year.

The SMMT is pressing the government to lower public charging’s VAT to match home charging, change its plans to impose an EV-specific vehicle excise fee, and cut the VAT on new EV purchases by half.

Teragence, a mobile network mapping company, and the Department of Transport provided data analysis for the RAC Foundation research.

A Government spokesperson said: “We’ve invested £1 billion to increase 4G coverage and are on track to have 95% of the UK covered by the end of next year.

“The number of new electric vehicles and plug-ins sold overall is higher than last year thanks £2 billion Government investment and we continue to help more people to make the switch to electric through schemes such as the £381 million Local Electric Vehicle (LEVI) fund, helping to rollout charging infrastructure.”

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