Written evidence the Electric Vehicle Association (EVA) England (ELV0062) 


House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee


Call for Evidence - Electric Vehicles (EVs)


The Electric Vehicle Association (EVA) England was established in June 2020 to offer a voice, services, and representation to current and prospective electric vehicle drivers in England. EVA England is a non-profit community interest company founded by passionate EV drivers inspired by the benefits of electric driving and concerned by the health and climate impacts of the use of petrol and diesel cars and vans.


EVA England is an independent group and represent our members and the wider EV driver community.


For this submission we asked members to contribute their real-life experiences, as well as use research and surveys we have previously undertaken. We have also given policy positions where they are appropriate.


1. What are the main obstacles to the achievement of the Government’s 2030 and 2035 phase-out dates? Are the phase-out dates realistic and achievable? If not, what steps should the Government take to make the phase-out dates achievable?


The ZEV Mandate is a key policy, and gives certainty to car manufacturers, charging companies, local authorities, DNOs and national grid to invest in EVs, as well as wider civil society and business to start preparing.


Currently, the biggest threat to achieving the 2030/35 targets is the delay in announcing the 2030/35 targets. The resulting uncertainty has delayed investment decisions, as well as spreading doubt among drivers.


This policy should have been announced a year ago, and considering it is due to be implemented next year, we are beyond cutting it close.


In terms of technical or economic reasons the targets could not be met, we see the transition and upgrading of the charging infrastructure as a challenge, but one in which the UK is well placed to deliver. We are currently seen as one of the leading countries in this area, and the sales of EVs coupled with the speed of charger deployment in comparison with other nations is favourable.


This is now at risk, and any delay or further watering down of the targets would cause a shock, not least in those who have already invested and would damage the reputation and trust of the UK.


Others will be better placed to comment on the regulatory and planning issues that are blocking the faster deployment of charging infrastructure, but from a user experience we can say that EV drivers are extremely happy with their purchase, with surveys constantly showing over 90% of EV drivers would not go back to petrol or diesel vehicles.


There are frustrations with the charging infrastructure, and we would say the current situation is adequate to good for many existing drivers, but it needs to get much better for the wider uptake. We have confidence in the industry to fund and deliver this, but we need to see government action to remove the blockers.



3. What specific national policies, regulations or initiatives have been successful, or have hindered, EV adoption to date? Are these policies or initiatives fit for purpose?


Members, especially those who switched to EVs when there were more incentives on offer, overwhelmingly state that plug-in grants and home charger grants were significant motivators when they made the decision. We feel these benefits were taken away far too soon in the transition, and while the decision taken by DfT/OZEV to shift funding to vans made sense given the resources available to them, the fact that funding was removed at all shows the overall government commitment was lacking.


Softer measures, such as green number plates were mentioned, as were benefits such as exemption for Congestion Charge. However, the exemption for London’s congestion charge is due to be scrapped post-2025.


Tax policy, namely the lower VED costs, were also attractive and added to the list of positives for EV drivers, however, that too is also being reversed in 2025. Bizarrely this will now mean that some older, more polluting petrol/diesel cars will be paying less VED than electric vehicles.


Salary Sacrifice remains the one existing government policy that is having a positive impact on the uptake of EVs, and we have seen the increase in popularity of this option. We feel this is a policy that could be extended, and mandating companies over 50+ employees to offer this would be an effective way to boost ownership.



5. What is your view on the accuracy of the information in the public domain relating to EVs and their usage?


It is clear that there is a concerted effort to discredit EVs in certain parts of the national press, and this has been exacerbated by the lack of political leadership over the past year which has created a vacuum in which misleading information has been allowed to grow.


The reality of driving an EV is not accurately shown in the myriad of sensationalist articles that have been published over the last six months.


Satisfaction within EV drivers is extraordinarily high, and the picture which has been allowed to form is in total contrast to that of the real-world experience of EV drivers demonstrated constantly by surveys and research.




17. Are consumers charged higher rates of insurance for an EV when compared to an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, and if so, are these higher rates justified? Can the Government do anything to mitigate this?


Members have seen increases in their insurance policy, but that is part of a wider trend of increased premiums.


Experience of using an EV


18. What are the main challenges that UK consumers face in their use of EVs?

The overwhelming experience expressed by members is satisfaction with the EV itself, with fewer than 4% saying they want to return to a petrol/diesel car.


The feedback on the performance, comfort, and cost of EVs is universally high. Yet while the cars are very good, the charging infrastructure needs improvement.


Complaints about the charging infrastructure are by far the most common, with the most obvious being lack of chargers (or the reliability and availability) on long journeys.


There are also issues surrounding the sites themselves, with lack of provisions, canopies and safety being areas where improvements are much needed.


Accessibility is a key concern, and while the new standards (PAS1899) are an improvement, the lack of enforcement of the standards, as well as the limited scope PAS1899, remains an area where we need to see a concerted effort on behalf of government, regulators, and the industry. 


The charge point industry is improving, and broadly speaking the chargers that have come online in the past two years are more reliable. Yet substandard legacy chargers are still on the system, and these continue to damage consumer confidence.


The bottom line is the charging infrastructure is adequate, but it needs to get much better before mass take up of EVs.



19. What are the main benefits that UK consumers could realise from using an EV?

The two biggest benefits most often mentioned are the overall driving experience and the lower costs of ownership.


The driving experiences mentioned are the comfort, especially the noise, smoothness, and ease, as well as the excellent performance.


Running costs are also much reduced, with reliability and servicing costs being much less than the ICE alternatives.


Charging also remains cheaper than petrol/diesel, and this is even greater if the owner has access to a home charger, doubly so if that is also combined with solar PV tariffs and/or EV electricity tariffs which offer cheaper electricity overnight.


This, however, also creates a two-tier system, whereby those who rely solely on public charging cannot access these cost savings, something that is exacerbated by VAT being charged at 20% for public charging, rather than the 5% charged for electricity used at home.


While it is still cheaper to use public charging than petrol/diesel, this is an obvious area where government could intervene. Roughly 80% of EV drivers currently have home charging, this compares to the national average (c60%) of homeowners having access to off-street parking. As we move towards greater EV ownership, this is an area of fairness that needs to be addressed.


20. How prepared are car dealerships, service networks, repairs and maintenance organisations, breakdown services and aftermarket suppliers to meet the growing EV uptake?

Consumer experiences of this is very mixed. There is a general feeling that there is still a lot of misinformation and lack of knowledge from some in the sector.


Anecdotally, there are still lots of stories of sales pushing consumers away from EV options, but we have not seen evidence or data in this area.


22. The Government recently published the draft legislation of “Public Charge Point Regulations 2023”. What assessment have you made of the draft legislation text, and what contribution will it make in ensuring the charging experience is standardized and reliable for consumers?


We were delighted to see OZEV publish the new Public Charge Point Regulations earlier in the summer, and these will have a significant impact for EV drivers. Addressing issues over contactless payments, clarifying charging costs, introducing reliability targets, and mandating open data requirements are all much welcomed, and will hopefully go some way to improving the consumer experience in much of what we have mentioned previously in relation to chargers.


23. What assessment do you make of the requirements set out in the draft legislation of “Public Charge Point Regulations 2023” for charge point operators to make data free and publicly available, and how may this improve the EV charging experience for consumers?


This is a vital, and potentially game changing move. It is arguably the biggest and most exciting area for innovation for EV drivers for two reasons.


Firstly, the patchy information currently available means there is low confidence in chargers, especially for long drives or for drivers in new/unfamiliar areas. EV drivers can arrive at a charger which is occupied, or worse, broken, and have no idea until they reach there. This can be a mild inconvenience (although one that shouldn’t have to be tolerated), but for those needing a charge or in areas of low coverage, the results can be dire. While this is very rare, the fact it is a possibility is a significant disincentive.


Having real time information will give a huge boost to consumer confidence and should ensure this scenario is avoidable.


Secondly, this change could be the catalyst for huge innovation, much in the same way the opening of TfL data spurred new products and third-party applications (e.g., citymapper and google maps). This could go further, with the potential for booking/reserving chargers as well as greater interaction with the cars data systems and mapping. Telsa drivers already have an integrated system which interacts with the vehicles on-board computer and the charging infrastructure, suggesting routing based on available chargers based on your current level of charge. This change opens the way for a more seamless and easier user experience and OZEV deserve huge praise for introducing this world leading policy.



25. Is there a financial benefit to the consumer of choosing an EV over an ICE vehicle? Are there further benefits, aside from financial, that a consumer may gain from EV use?

Please see Q19.


32. What are the issues facing rural residents, urban residents, and sub-urban residents and how do they differ?


There is a marked difference in charging behaviour for those living in rural and urban areas, with those in urban areas using public charging more than rural and suburban, and those in rural areas homecharging more. This is broadly to be expected in the early adopters, those in urban areas without homechargers yet well served by charging infrastructure would be more likely to drive an EV, similarly, those in rural areas which typically do not have charging infrastructure yet do have access with a homecharger are also more likely to opt for an EV.


This obviously presents an issue down the line with rural drivers without access to home charging. This will become an increasing problem in the 2030s-2040s when some of the ‘hard to switch’ case studies will be limited in their petrol/diesel options.