The mystery of the UK's missing charging stations
Electric cars are taking a battering from MPs, who have blasted the government's grant towards electric car ownership and have revealed nearly 20 per cent of all electric charging points are 'missing'.
Bafflingly, 1,673 chargepoints have been installed in eight trial areas across the UK but only 452 can be located by the Department for Transport's National Chargepoint Registry, which can be found online.
The revelation comes after the Transport Select Committee launched a tirade against the government's electric car grant, claiming it has "benefited just a handful of motorists", highlighting the in-fighting between MPs over electric car use in the UK.
The Transport Select Committee has given the DfT six months to organise the fiasco, saying in its report: "The DfT must take the lead in providing data on the location of chargepoints so the public can see where they can charge their vehicles."
The Registry was initially created to relax electric car buyers about range anxiety, and show them charging access points in their area. The lack of a sufficient database may be partly to blame for the slow uptake in the electric car market - only 1,706 have been sold across the UK so far despite the £5,000 plug-in grant.
Labour has led the criticism with Maria Eagle, transport spokesperson, calling the infrastructure "shambolic."
She adds: "It is astonishing that, despite claiming to have delivered 1,600 charge points, the Government only seems to know where a third of them are located. We need to have reached 1.7 million electric vehicles by 2020 and a public charging infrastructure is needed to give confidence to drivers."
It's not the first time a member of the Labour Party has criticised the government's electric scheme. Louise Ellman is chairman of the Transport Select Committee, and had some strong words to say when its report was published last week.
"Currently plug-in cars are mostly being purchased as second cars for town driving. It is also unclear whether the provision of public charging infrastructure encourages demand for plug-in cars. Indeed, the Government does not even have a register of all the chargepoints installed at public expense."
Despite the DfT's apparent chargepoint gaffe, Transport Minister Norman Baker supports the work done by the body, instead deflecting blame onto businesses and local authorities.
"The National Chargepoint Register already lists the majority of Pluggedin Places charge points and this information is being used - for example, by satellite navigation firms - to develop applications which make life easier for drivers," he says.
Previously, a £5,000 plug-in car grant was introduced by the Labour government before being maintained by the Coalition government. However, it is increasingly under pressure as budget cuts bite.
Luckily, you can see all of the UK's chargepoints - including the missing ones - on the electric chargepoint section of our EVTorque iPhone app.
Written by John Meadowcroft