Legislation that will force petrol retailers to install electric chargepoints has been passed by Parliament, but the Government has still failed to identify which sites will be affected.

The Automated and Electric Vehicles Act provides powers to force “large petrol retailers” and motorway service stations to install electric charging points and hydrogen refuelling equipment, but the government is still refusing to provide a definition of “large petrol retailers”.

Last week the PRA warned that the Act would give arbitrary powers to the transport secretary and to metro mayors to force sites to install electric chargers if they deemed them large enough.

It warned smaller retailers could be driven out of business and said the market should decide when and where charging points should be installed.

However, the Department for Transport said: “The Act will see a massive improvement in electric chargepoint availability; giving the government new powers to ensure motorway services are upgraded with plenty of points, and even allowing mayors to request installations at large fuel retailers in their areas.

“The new laws will improve consumer confidence in charging their vehicles by:

• making sure that public chargepoints are compatible with all vehicles;

• standardising how they are paid for; and

• setting standards for reliability.”

Roads minister Jesse Norman said: “The UK is becoming a world leader in the roll-out of low-emission transport. Today we have passed a significant milestone in that journey.”

The act also introduces legislation covering automated vehicles and he added: “The increasing automation of our cars is transforming the way we drive, and the government is steadily updating our laws in order to prepare for the future.

“This act will ensure that the UK’s infrastructure and insurance system is ready for the biggest transport revolution in a century.”

The act will also bring automated vehicle insurance in line with longstanding motor insurance practice, ensuring that motorists are covered both when they are driving, and when the driver has legitimately handed control to the vehicle.