Why is the CMA ‘taking action’ against EV chargepoint operators?

Why is the CMA ‘taking action’ against EV chargepoint operators?
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published an open letter to electric vehicle chargepoint operators (CPOs) and motorway service area (MSA) sites to remind them of their competition law obligations.

As the infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs) expands across the UK, the CMA is analysing the industry to see how operators are competing fairly, to benefit all drivers.

According to the open letter, ‘helping to accelerate the UK’s transition to a net zero economy is a strategic focus for the CMA’.

In 2021, the CMA published a market study report on EV charging. The review of this sector aimed to help identify and tackle any emerging issues.

Following the 2023 market study report into road fuels, the EV charging, the CMA found that EV charging will become increasingly important to drivers as petrol and diesel vehicles are phased out.

Their analysis found that for drivers to switch to EVs, they must feel confident that there is a ‘comprehensive, competitive charging network in place across the UK’.

They also stated that drivers want charging to be simple and convenient – especially on motorway services.

This is because it gives drivers confidence to carry out long distance journeys and tackle the stigma of ‘range anxiety’.

The CMA’s market study report made several recommendations to the Government and recommended to roll-out the £950m Rapid Charging Fund (RCF) at pace and attach conditions to it to help open up competition at sites across England.

Following the open letter, all CPOs and MSA site operators should ensure that their locations comply with competition law.

RAC head of policy Simon Williams said: “There’s no question that EV drivers need a robust rapid charging network across the UK, and none more so than at motorway services, so we are pleased the Competition and Markets Authority is taking early action to ensure there will be plenty of charging operators to choose from in the future.

“Unfortunately, while progress is being made, the current state of rapid charging on the motorway isn’t as good as it should be.

“RAC analysis of charging facilities at motorway services shows the Government’s target of having six high-powered chargers at all of England’s 119 services by the end of the year is unlikely to be met, with only a quarter having that amount in May.

“Much of the continued transition to zero-emission driving depends on would-be EV drivers knowing they can quickly, simply and affordably recharge their cars on long journeys, so getting more chargers from more operators installed in the shortest possible time is crucial.”

What do you make of the CMA’s open letter and recent findings? Leave your comments below.

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