Information about public charging points

Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 16th March 2017.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Richard Burden Richard Burden Shadow Minister (Transport)

Although we have tabled no amendments to clause 11, it is worth putting it on record that it is potentially one of the most important clauses in part 2 of the Bill. If we are to give more people the confidence they need to switch to plug-in vehicles, it is vital that they have an easy way, without having to work at it, of knowing not only where they can charge their vehicle but how much it will cost and how that compares with other charge points in the area. If they have a Nissan LEAF rather than a Tesla, they need to know that the charge point will charge it. Ensuring proper interoperability and transparency, particularly of pricing, is really important. Unusually, I do not think that we can add to what the Government have put in the clause, but I emphasise that it is really important.

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Department for Transport)

I was driven in a Nissan LEAF yesterday, so I really do live the policy. The hon. Gentleman is right: as well as putting in place the broad infrastructure that I described, we need to provide information, and part 2 of the Bill will do precisely that. It will allow the Government to improve the provision of information on charge points for electric vehicles by requiring network operators to provide the information necessary to make locating and charging an electric car easy and hassle-free.

The way in which people obtain information has changed and will continue to change. In-car information is likely to be a feature of future developments. It is important that we set out the requirements now, so that motorists know, as a minimum, where charge points are located and can plan their journeys accordingly. As the hon. Gentleman said, the provision of information is probably as important as issues that we have spent longer discussing. The fact that he has not tabled any amendments implies that he agrees with us that the data on location, price and availability need to be accessible and open. That will also allow service operators to develop their products by giving motorists a complete picture, allowing them to plan their journeys with greater confidence. The market is moving in the right direction, and we are trying to support that in the Bill.

Photo of Rob Marris Rob Marris Labour, Wolverhampton South West

If someone wanted to make a public telephone call 30, 40 or 50 years ago, one of the ways in which they got information about where to make it from was visual—a red telephone box was a visual source of information. I suggest that the Minister should interpret broadly the phrase

“in what form the information is to be made available” in clause 11(3)(a), including within it the design of Hayes hook-ups so that, like red telephone boxes, they give a visual clue—visual information—and people can see from their design where the available charging point is.

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Department for Transport)

What a wonderful image the hon. Gentleman conjures; I will certainly take his point to heart. I will ask my friend and adviser, the distinguished architect Quinlan Terry, to suggest further developments of the kind that the hon. Gentleman set out.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 11 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Ordered, That further consideration be now adjourned. —(Jackie Doyle-Price.)

Adjourned till Tuesday 21 March at twenty-five minutes past Nine o’clock.