The Government will press on with measures to drive the development of electric cars during the next session of Parliament, after the election scuppered a previous Bill, according to the Queen’s speech.
During her address to Parliament the Queen said: “Legislation will be introduced to ensure the United Kingdom remains a world leader in new industries, including electric cars and commercial satellites.”
In the previous session of Parliament the Government introduced the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill, which passed its second reading. But when Parliament was dissolved because of the general election was called, it meant the Bill fell.
The Bill would have given the Government powers to force “large fuel retailers” and operators of motorway service areas to provide electric charging points and hydrogen refuelling facilities.
Commenting on the new proposals, RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “While more electric vehicle charging points are welcome, the proposals are rather unambitious and do not include plans for more charging points in places where, arguably, motorists would benefit most from them – the car parks of major shopping centres and supermarkets. Future legislation should include compelling private parking operators and perhaps also major property developers to install charging points.
“Charging technology that is introduced also needs to be of the type that actively encourages a generation of drivers to get behind the wheel of an electric car – so this means installing the most rapid charging technology that plug-in vehicles can accept. After all, no one would accept a dial-up internet connection in this age of fibre optic broadband, and drivers should not have to wait for many hours in order to be on their way again. It is also important that a minimum charger standard is established and there are moves to simplify the plethora of different and sometimes confusing charging options for consumers.”
Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), said: “It is encouraging to see that the Government has introduced a dedicated bill on automated and electric vehicles to help attract investments in infrastructures and support economic growth.
“However, it is vital that the Government itself also actively invests in the electric vehicle market, particularly on charging infrastructure, as this has the potential to become one of the key forces in the modernisation of the automotive industry.”