Nearly three-quarters of electric vehicle (EV) owners are unhappy with the UK’s public charging system, according to a new survey.
The survey of nearly 1,500 drivers of electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles by Which? highlights the difficulties many motorists have in finding a working charger.
Some 74% of respondents said they were dissatisfied with the charging infrastructure.
Two in five (40%) said they found a charger that didn’t work, while 61% had trouble making payments.
The vast majority of EV owners (84%) who use public chargers want the option to pay by contactless bank card, the survey also found.
Most charging stations require drivers to pay through an app.
Nearly half (45%) of respondents believe that the nearest public on-street charging station to their home is more than 20 minutes away on foot.
Government urged to do more
Sue Davies, head of consumer policy at Which?, said: “Our research shows that public electric vehicle charging infrastructure is insufficient, as many drivers struggle to find reliable charging points in working order, have to navigate confusing payment systems, or are unable to rely on adequate charging stations near their home or for a long journey.
“The government must act quickly to implement its plans to improve the consumer experience of using public charging networks by extending reliability standards across the network and ensuring that charging proposals Payment roaming makes paying to top up much simpler.
“Charging needs to be simple, reliable and seamless to help people transition to an electric car.”
Many of these public EV charging points are run by local councils.
David Renard, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, which represents over 350 local authorities across England and Wales, said: “The reliability and ease of use of the charging infrastructure will be key to continuing to attract more people to switch to greener transport.
“Councils need long-term financial support from government so they can help ensure there are robust and accessible local charging networks to help our communities and businesses embrace cleaner travel and combat climate change.”
Sales of electric vehicles are slowing
It comes as figures suggest the rapid increase in sales of new pure electric cars has slowed in recent months.
Enrollment in the first three months of the year was 102% higher than the same period in 2021.
By the end of August, the year-to-date increase had fallen to 49%.
A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: “We have one of the largest charging networks in Europe and we are working to ensure drivers can access charging stations across the country that are reliable, consistent and transparent to use.
“Since 2020, we have committed £1.6 billion to improving the charging network and we are on track to have 300,000 public charging stations by 2030.”