Duty to repair electric vehicle charging points backed by UK law makers

Out-Law News | 06 Jun 2018 | 2:33 pm | 1 min. read

Operators of electric vehicle (EV) charging points in the UK could be placed under a legal duty to repair faults with the infrastructure, according to proposals backed by a parliamentary committee.

Under the plans, contained in amendments to the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill currently before the UK parliament, the government would have the power to introduce new regulations stipulating performance standards for the charging points and imposing a requirement for operators to fix faults.

The amendments won support during the report stage for the Bill in the House of Lords on Tuesday. Parliamentary under secretary of state for transport Baroness Sugg expressed her support for the measures in the debate.

"Public charge points will inevitably fall into disrepair when used in the public domain, particularly in the early stages as new technologies are developing," Baroness Sugg said. "While we hope and expect that the market will respond to this, there is a risk that when charge points are installed and utilisation is low – hopefully, only in the early stages – then operators or host sites are less likely to repair them."

"I agree that having a significant number of public charge points out of action will adversely impact on the user charging experience, inconveniencing and frustrating EV drivers. This would risk drivers running out of charge while trying to find the next available charge point and pose safety risks … if drivers are left stranded on public highways or in quieter rural locations," she said.

"I accept the points made in Committee that greater protection is required for the consumer and that the Bill needs to go further in this regard. This group of amendments provides the government with the necessary power to introduce regulations that would specify performance standards for publicly available EV charge points and ensure that operators take measures to ensure that faulty charge points are repaired," she said.

The Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill was proposed by the government last year. It makes provision for the registration of all driverless cars in the UK, and addresses how liability for accidents involving such vehicles should be apportioned. The Bill is also designed to support upgrades in UK infrastructure to support anticipated growth in the use of electric vehicles.