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Call for motorway charging ban on PHEVs

Date: 10 December 2018   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Electric vehicle (EV) charging points at motorway service stations should be reserved for battery-only cars, with plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) excluded. 

That's according to a report published by the RAC Foundation by Harold Dermott.

He writes that while the latest battery-only cars  need just five minutes at the quickest rapid charging points to add another 15 miles of range, technology limitations mean it would take almost all PHEVs around an hour to achieve the same - a twelvefold increase.

This means that charging points, vital to battery-only vehicles on long journeys, could be blocked by slower charging PHEVs.

Turning to other issues affecting charging infrastructure, the report states that while there has been an improvement in charging point reliability during the past year - with the number out-of-service reduced from 14.8% to 8.3% - this is still not good enough.

It also recommends that charging point locations need to offer services and facilities routinely found at traditional petrol stations, such as protection from the weather, food and drink outlets, toilet provision and good lighting. 

The report also says that while the pace at which the public charging network has grown has been impressive, the difficulty of predicting how the EV market will evolve puts the onus on manufacturers to better communicate their future plans to infrastructure providers - so that money is not wasted investing in the wrong equipment at the wrong locations.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: "Ever-faster and more powerful charging points might sound like the answer to creating the electric car recharging network we need, but if the cars themselves can only be recharged at a certain rate then, at best, we're going to be disappointed and at worst we're going to waste money. Compatibility between car and charger is key. 

"In an area where policy, technology and the market are almost falling over themselves, such is the pace of change, communication between all parties is fundamental. Neither society nor drivers will reap all the potential rewards of greener transport if there is confusion about how it should best be delivered. 

"Ultimately, refuelling electric vehicles should be at least as convenient and fuss-free as filling up with petrol or diesel. As the report makes clear we may be on the right road but we are not there yet."