Competition watchdog to assess EV marketplace

The CMA is launching a market study into electric vehicle charging to ensure the new sector “works well” for drivers.

The move is being taken following the government announcement about a ‘green industrial revolution’ and the ban on petrol and diesel vehicles being bought forward to 2030.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is therefore taking a “close look” at the electric vehicle charging sector, which is crucial to the roll-out of electric vehicles, as part of its commitment on climate change.

Despite the sector being in the early stages of development, it is growing quickly. The UK currently has almost 20,000 charge points, up from only around 1,500 in 2011, with even more needed in the future to power the wholesale transition to electric vehicles.

The CMA is considering how to ensure the sector works well for people now and in the future, which will help to build trust in the service and address any competition issues, it said.

Research shows that “range anxiety”, so the CMA said it was “essential” that drivers can access a charge point when they need one. If people can see that the service will work for them, they are more likely to make the switch to electric vehicles, which is crucial to achieving the government’s long-term ambition for a net zero economy by 2050, it said.

The CMA’s work will centre on 2 broad themes:

  • how to develop a competitive sector while also attracting private investment to help the sector grow
  • how to ensure people using electric vehicle chargepoints have confidence that they can get the best out of the service

The CMA intends to conclude its market study within the 12-month deadline so that it can help shape competition and boost consumer confidence in this developing sector.

Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, said: “Making the switch to electric vehicles is key to helping the UK become greener, which is why it’s so important that everyone has the confidence to get behind the move. Being able to easily stop off at a petrol station is a standard part of a journey and consumers must trust that electric chargepoints will provide a similarly straight-forward service.

“By getting involved early as electric vehicles and chargepoints are still developing, the CMA can make sure consumers are treated fairly now and in the future.

“Market studies can make recommendations to government or other bodies, and issue guidance to businesses and consumers as needed, among other options.”

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