UK’s first ever EV consumer Code launched

The electric vehicle market in the UK is currently worth over £3 billion with nearly 38,000 new electric cars being sold in the last 12 months, more than double the previous year. 1 in 10 of the new cars now sold in the UK is an electric vehicle. Advances in technology, such as the availability of public high speed charging points and the increase in battery capacity meaning cars can go further without needing to be recharge, will continue to speed this up. The government’s recent announcement that it is to consult to bring forward the date at which no more diesel cars will be sold in the UK will only add to the pace of change. All of which is good news to help meet the government’s commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 but it could leave the consumers exposed to potential poor practices.

From now on, consumers wanting to install a home charge point can look for the EVCC logo to ensure that they are using an installer that follows best practice in sales and installation. The scheme is voluntary which domestic charge point installers can sign up to, identifying them as reputable. The code is an extension of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC) which sets and enforces high standards giving consumers wanted to install home energy generating systems such as solar panels and battery storage.

This code should be monitored very carefully by vehicle manufacturers, retailers (dealerships) leasing companies and now of course energy companies who provide electric vehicles as part of their services. Whilst the code is not primary legislation it is very well crafted in that it seeks to deliver Consumer protection across a range of areas.

Those of you who are familiar with consumer credit will see that the requirement for transparent paperwork, clarity of cost and the clear provision of cancellation procedures, mirrors the behaviours required by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Of equal importance from a consumer perspective, is the insistence that goods and services supplied are of satisfactory quality and so we can see the provisions of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 form a cornerstone of the protection required for the public.

What effect will the code have?

We have seen previously that codes can often influence subsequent primary legislation. Equally where a court considers evidence as to the rights and obligations of parties they will look to the codes to see if they govern the relationship of those involved. Where one party does not comply with the code the court can still look to it as an indicator of how a supplier should proceed.

What to do now?

For those involved in the provision of electric vehicles and or their chargers, now is the time to review your contracts, policies and procedures to ensure that you limit risk, deliver maximum customer satisfaction and ensure you proceed in a manner that complies with the multifaceted regulatory

This a fast moving area of law which affects a new landscape concerning energy efficient modes of transport. For further details please contact Eddie Flanagan or another member of the energy team.

For advice or guidance on any other legal issue, a member of our team can help – please click here to discuss.

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Eddie works with a highly skilled team to deliver industry specific advice to the asset finance and leasing sector.

Eddie and his team advise clients on a wide range of issues concerning leasing, hire, consumer credit, the FCA source book and the regulatory landscape affecting the UK finance and leasing sector.

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Published: 23rd March 2020
Area: Corporate & Commercial

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