UK Government plans to increase EV charge points to 300,000 by 2030
The UK Government has unveiled plans to support the UK market to reach 300,000 public EV charge points by 2030 – equivalent to almost five times the number of fuel pumps on our roads today.
Under the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy, charging will become easier and cheaper than refuelling a petrol or diesel car, claims the government, while new legal requirements on operators will see drivers of electric vehicles able to pay by contactless, compare charging prices and find nearby charge points via apps.
The new strategy sets out the Government’s aim to expand the UK’s charging network so that it’s robust, fair and covers the entire country – as well as improving the consumer experience at all charging points, with significant support focussed on those without access to off-street parking, as well as on fast charging for longer journeys.
£500 million will be invested to bring high quality, competitively priced public charging points to communities across the UK. This includes a £450 million Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure [LEVI] Fund which will boost projects such as EV hubs and innovative on-street charging, so those without driveways don’t miss out on cleaner transport.
A pilot scheme for the LEVI fund launching today will see local authorities bid for a share of £10 million in funding, allowing selected areas to work with industry and boost public charging opportunities. Meanwhile, the LEVI funding includes up to £50 million to fund staff to work on local challenges and public charge point planning – ensuring that any development complements all other zero-emission forms of travel, such as walking and cycling.
The existing £950m Rapid Charging Fund will support the rollout of at least 6,000 high powered super-fast charging points across England’s motorways by 2035.
The Government is mandating that operators provide real-time data about charge points. It is ensuring that consumers can compare prices and seamlessly pay for their charging using contactless cards. They will also be able to use apps to find their nearest available charge point.
These plans will also require a 99% reliability rate at rapid charge points to ensure they are world-class, and give consumers confidence in finding charge points that work wherever they travel – helping eradicate so-called ‘range anxiety’, claims the government.
Even with recent trends in electricity prices, EVs still benefit from lower fuel, running and maintenance costs than their petrol and diesel equivalents and the strategy hopes to encourage drivers across the nation to make the switch. Production costs also continue to fall and some analysts expect purchase price parity with petrol and diesel cars to be reached well within the 2020s.
This forms part of wider Government plans to reduce the UK’s reliance on imports of foreign oil, improving the security of our energy supply and reducing the country’s vulnerability to volatility in global energy prices.
Says Transport Secretary Grant Shapps:
“No matter where you live – be that a city centre or rural village, the north, south, east or west of the country, we’re powering up the switch to electric and ensuring no one gets left behind in the process.
“The scale of the climate challenge ahead of us all is well-known, and decarbonising transport is at the very heart of our agenda.
“That’s why we’re ensuring the country is EV-fit for future generations by the end of this decade, revolutionising our charging network and putting the consumer first.”
Adds Gill Nowell, Head of EV at LV= General Insurance:
“This strategy shows the Government’s ambition for electric cars, but more still needs to be done in order to help people feel comfortable to make the switch to electric. It’s vital that charging provision is rolled out equitably across the UK, and that those who cannot charge at home are not disadvantaged by having to pay more than those who can.
“Additionally, there has to be a flexible approach undertaken to truly ensure that the right chargers are located in the right place to meet changing needs, and crucially are safe to use and accessible to everyone.”