Mobile Connectivity Issues Could Hinder Electric Vehicle Charging, Study Finds

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Mobile Connectivity Issues Could Hinder Electric Vehicle Charging, Study Finds

A study has highlighted a potential obstacle for electric vehicle (EV) users in Britain, with approximately two-thirds of the nation’s popular public charging stations facing issues due to inconsistent mobile network coverage. The RAC Foundation’s findings suggest that this could significantly impact the confidence in EV infrastructure.

The research specifically points out that 66% of Type-2 charging stations – recognized for their speeds of up to 8kw and excluding those in London – are situated in areas lacking strong 4G coverage from at least one major mobile network provider. Since these chargers and the required user apps depend on a reliable mobile connection to operate, the lack of coverage from any of Britain’s four main mobile networks (EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone) might leave drivers unable to charge their EVs.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, compares the current situation to the ease of refueling petrol and diesel cars, highlighting the reliability issues facing EV charging. He notes that problems with signal connectivity at charging stations could lead users to mistakenly blame the equipment, thereby shaking their trust in the public EV charging network’s dependability.

Gooding also points out a gap in the government’s new mandatory reporting system, which fails to cover the connectivity issues affecting Type-2 chargers, focusing only on the rapid charger network. He advocates for solutions that address these challenges, such as introducing wi-fi hotspots or satellite internet, to ensure EV drivers have reliable access to public charging facilities.

Last week, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) called for more incentives to buy electric vehicles (EVs) after noticing a drop in their market share. In March, EVs made up 15.2% of all new car registrations, a decrease from 16.2% the previous year.

The SMMT suggests the Government should cut VAT on new EVs by half, rethink the introduction of a vehicle excise duty for EVs, and lower the VAT on public EV charging stations to match the rate for home charging.

According to a study by the RAC Foundation, which analyzed data from the Department for Transport and Teragence, a mobile network mapping firm, the push for more electric vehicles is part of a larger strategy to enhance the UK’s digital infrastructure and environmental footprint.

A Government spokesperson highlighted a £1 billion investment to improve 4G coverage across the UK, aiming for 95% coverage by the end of next year. The spokesperson also noted an increase in the sale of electric and plug-in vehicles, thanks to a £2 billion government investment. Efforts to encourage the switch to electric vehicles include the £381 million Local Electric Vehicle (LEVI) fund, aimed at expanding charging infrastructure.

The U.S. Takes a Step Back in Electric Vehicle Initiative

In a recent turn of events, the U.S. has introduced a new electric vehicle (EV) policy via the Environmental Protection Agency. This policy marks a slight retreat from previously stricter emissions goals, aiming to balance environmental aspirations with industry concerns. Initially, the plan aimed for a 67% EV adoption rate by 2032 but has since been adjusted to a more modest target of at least 35% following feedback from automotive sectors and labor groups in Michigan, a key political arena.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has shifted to a more flexible approach, establishing a “technology neutral” policy. This change allows carmakers to meet emissions targets using a variety of methods, including gas-electric hybrids, granting them significant flexibility.

However, environmental advocates view this pivot as a temporary fix that could slow down the transition towards fully electric vehicles. To further ease fuel consumption, the policy also endorses “advanced gasoline” solutions, including innovations like stop-start ignition systems, vehicle weight reduction, and turbocharged engines.

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