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British EV charging market to get more competitive on Gridserve pledges - watchdog

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FILE PHOTO: An electric car is charged at a roadside EV charge point, London

(Reuters) - Gridserve, a major operator of electric vehicle charging points on Britain's motorways, has promised to take several steps that would lead to a more competitive environment, a UK watchdog said on Wednesday.

The commitments made by Gridserve, backed by billionaire businessman Richard Branson and Irish singer Bono, come just months after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation into suspected breaches of competition law by the company.

Gridserve has promised to do away with exclusive rights in contracts with certain service stations on the UK's Electric Highway after 2026 and not enforce them on sites funded by Britain's billion-dollar Rapid Charging Fund, the CMA said,the%20electric%20vehicle%20charging%20sector on Wednesday.

The Electric Highway provides roughly 80% of all charge-points at motorway service stations, excluding those from Tesla Inc, according to the watchdog.

"Healthy competition is key to ensuring that drivers have a greater choice of charge-points where they need them, and for a fair price," said CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli.

The CMA in July had said it was probing into long-term exclusive arrangements between the Electric Highway and three motorway service operators – MOTO, Roadchef and Extra.

Britain has pledged to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, with the CMA saying that the island nation would need 10 times as many EV charge-points by that period.

($1 = 0.7442 pounds)

(Reporting by Muhammed Husain and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Pushkala Aripaka; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

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