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Competition watchdog to examine UK charging network

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a study into the UK’s electric vehicle charging sector with the aim of ensuring it develops into a competitive market and boosts consumer confidence in the UK’s charging network.

The government organisation has launched the study following the confirmation that sales of non-zero-emission cars will be banned from 2030 onwards, with the CMA noting that EV charging is “crucial to the roll-out of electric vehicles”.

There are currently nearly 20,000 public charge points in the UK but a huge increase in that number will be required to meet the growing need as demand for EVs rises. The CMA says it recognises that range anxiety is a key concern and it is “essential that drivers can access a charge point when they need one”.

The CMA will focus the study on two areas: how to develop a competitive sector while also attracting private investment to help it grow, and how to ensure charge point users have confidence in the service. The study will take around a year to complete.

Andrea Costelli, the head 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 charge points will provide a similarly straightforward service.

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

The market study could be used to inform recommendations to the government or other groups, and to develop guidance issued to businesses and consumers. The CMA is seeking views on the issues raised in its ‘invitation to comment’, which can be submitted via its website until 5 January.

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