Charging points to be mandatory on garage forecourts

A Government bill will ensure electric vehicle charging points are more commonplace across the UK

A Government bill will make the installation of electric charging points mandatory for motorway services and large fuel retailers in an attempt to make them ubiquitous across the UK.

Should the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill be passed, it will make it easier and more convenient for electric car (EV) drivers to recharge their vehicles. The bill states that any EV owner should be able to easily locate and charge their vehicle at a charging point, regardless of what make or model it is, using sat nav or a mobile app to find them. Previously, many charging points have only been compatible with certain makes of EV.

The bill also stipulates that new charging points need to be ‘smart’, meaning they’re able to interact with the national grid to help manage electricity demand around the country.

Roads minister Jesse Norman said: “Automated and electric vehicles will help improve air quality, cut congestion, boost safety and create thousands of skilled jobs in the UK. We have already supported the purchase of 115,000 ultra-low emission cars and there are already more than 11,500 publicly available charge points, but the demand continues to grow as more people purchase electric vehicles to cut fuel costs and boost the environment.”

Commenting on the first reading of the bill in the House of Commons, Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation said: “It is clear that Government needs to do more to accelerate the take-up of electric vehicles, tackling the issues that are currently persuading motorists to stick with conventional fuels, as well as paving the way for autonomy”.

The bill also covers the issue of liability when cars are driven autonomously and what happens if they’re involved in a crash. The Government stated that: “victims of collisions involving an automated vehicle will have quick and easy access to compensation, in line with existing insurance practices.”

In response, James Dalton of the Association of British Insurers commented: “Insurers wholeheartedly support the development of automated vehicles, as they have the potential to significantly reduce the large number of road accidents caused by driver error. We support the approach the Government has taken in the bill, as this will give the industry time to prepare for the commercial rollout of fully automated driving technology.”

The Government is hoping automated vehicles will “greatly reduce road traffic accidents”, with 86% of collisions causing injury in 2016 said to be caused by human error.

The bill received a second reading in the House of Commons yesterday without a division and will now be considered by a Public Bill Committee.

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