Almost three quarters of electric car owners are unhappy with the UK’s public charging system, a new survey has found.
The survey of almost 1,500 drivers of electric or plug-in hybrid cars, by Which? highlights the difficulty many motorists face in finding a charger that works.
Around 74% of respondents said they were dissatisfied with charging infrastructure.
Two in five (40%) reported finding a non-working charger, while 61% have had trouble paying.
The vast majority of electric car owners (84%) who use public chargers want the option to pay with a contactless bank card, the survey also found.
Most charging points require drivers to pay through an app.
Almost half (45%) of respondents estimated that the nearest public charging point on the street to their home is more than a 20-minute walk away.
The government urged to do more
Sue Davies, head of consumer protection policy at Which?, said: “Our research shows that the public charging infrastructure for electric cars is falling short as many drivers struggle to find reliable charging points in good working order, have to navigate confusing payment systems, or are unable to to rely on sufficient charging points near their homes or to get them through a long journey.
“The Government must move 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 payment roaming proposals make it much easier to pay.
“Charging must be easy, reliable and seamless to support people transitioning 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 more than 350 local authorities across England and Wales, said: “Reliability and ease of use of the charging infrastructure will be vital to continue to attract more people to make the transition 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 support our communities and businesses to adopt cleaner journeys and tackle climate change.”
EV sales are slow
It comes as figures indicate that the rapid increase in sales of new pure electric cars has slowed in recent months.
The number of registrations during the first three months of the year was 102% more than in the same period in 2021.
By the end of August, the increase so far this year had fallen to 49%.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “We have one of the largest charging networks in Europe and are working to ensure drivers can access charging points across the country that are reliable, consistent and seamless to use.
“Since 2020, we have committed £1.6bn to improving the charging network and are on track to have 300,000 public charging points by 2030.”