As the UK government continues to support the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) through initiatives such as funding support for chargepoint installation, the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) has launched the UK’s first Electric Vehicle Consumer Code (the Code).
The Code, designed to provide consumers with confidence when having an EV chargepoint installed at home, sets out specific requirements Code members must follow.
Who can sign up to the Code?
Any consumer-facing businesses operating in the electric vehicle chargepoint sector can become members of the Code. Businesses that do sign up to Code must meet the eligibility requirements and must follow the Code.
What obligations do Code members have?
The Code covers significant ground. As well the overarching requirement to follow the Code and not bring it into disrepute, the Code sets out specific practices which members must follow. Examples include:
- specific standards of customer service such as maximising the accessibility of EV chargepoint equipment to the consumer and not engaging in “high pressure selling techniques”. The Code outlines specific practices that are prohibited, e.g. artificially raising the initial price of an EV chargepoint and then applying a discount
- complying with applicable data protection legislation when processing personal data of consumers including the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations which apply to electronic marketing or advertising (e.g. emails, calls)
- acting with integrity in pre-sale activities which covers everything from advertising and marketing through to home visits. The Code also provides a reminder to businesses to comply with relevant legislation such as the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising, the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
- having a written contract with consumers using the EVCC model contract adapted for the member’s business model and specific practices in relation to consumers cancellation rights
- specific requirements in relation to manufacturers’ guarantees
Whilst not a first for the renewable consumer market it is the first consumer code for the EV market. It is already gaining traction and has received strong support from Transport Minister Rachel Maclean who welcomed the Code and noted the importance of having the “right rules and regulations on chargepoint installation”.
We anticipate strong support for the Code from EV chargepoint market. If you want to know more or would like to discuss how we can support you in ensuring your practices align to the Code, please get in touch with Ross Fairley or Lucy Pegler via our website.
The launch of the Code follows the Government’s announcement in February that it intends to consult on bringing forward the date banning the sale of new internal combustion engine cars and vans from 2040 to 2035. To address industry concerns about achieving the level of infrastructure deployment needed to support this, the final report of the EV Energy Taskforce (published in January) proposed a range of actions to ensure that consumers are at the centre of the roll-out.