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Here follows some of the challenges uncovered when we engaged with stakeholders on the topic of chargepoint reliability of service.

  • Since existing government-funded local authority chargepoints are often owned outright and any charging session income is retained by the council, the supplier is not incentivised to make prompt repairs. This relationship is expected to change with increased private sector investment in the Scottish public network. This is covered in more detail in funding your chargepoints.

    With increased private sector investment, the public sector will retain a guiding role in ensuring that a just transition is achieved. This means there are still areas where local authorities must exert influence and control to ensure equality of service for all, such as within their strategies and procured supplier contracts.

  • Our engagement has uncovered that many local authorities are dissatisfied with the level of service delivered by those providing maintenance to their existing public chargepoints. Those tasked with delivering this servicing requirement may be the chargepoint equipment manufacturers or a separate, outsourced supplier. Common issues are that agreed service timelines are not being met, communication lines have been strained and costs are proving prohibitive. These issues are exacerbated in rural and remote areas.

  • Many local authorities in remote and rural areas have identified that suppliers are failing to meet warranty service level agreements (SLAs) for reacting to chargepoint faults. SLAs will specify acceptable response and repair periods but challenges with obtaining parts and arranging technicians to site have been cited as reasons for delays.

    Local authorities have fed back that suppliers are leaving faults uncorrected for prolonged periods for logistical efficiency reasons. Suppliers have indicated they prefer to group together site visits to more remote regions to minimise the associated technician travel and accommodation costs.

    Fault resolution has sometimes required several e-mails and phone calls, a very resource intensive process for councils. Which is often exacerbated by having multiple equipment providers operating within their boundary.

    It is understood that suppliers might not necessarily have the same employee coverage in rural areas as they do in urban areas. However, reliability of chargepoints in rural areas is arguably more critical to electric vehicle driver confidence since travel distances to alternative chargepoints are likely to be greater. Furthermore, if electric vehicle drivers are deterred from travelling in the area, it could have a negative impact on tourist flows and commercial fleet pass-through, thereby harming the local economy.

    Presently, there are often contract conditions which prohibit repairs by unauthorised parties without invalidating the EVSE warranty, such that maintenance and fixes to chargepoints can only be carried out by the equipment manufacturer themselves.