The government has announced plans to invest £1.6 billion in the UK’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure. In all, the government says it wants a tenfold increase in the total number of charging points, in the hope of making charging an electric vehicle (EV) “easier and cheaper than refuelling a petrol or diesel car”.
According to the Department for Transport (DfT), the money will be used to “support the UK market” to reach 300,000 public EV charge points by 2030. Should that goal be achieved, there will be five times more charge points than fuel pumps on UK roads.
At the same time, the government wants to introduce new legal requirements that ensure operators allow electric car drivers to use contactless payment. The rules will also allow drivers to compare charging prices and find nearby charge points using smartphone apps.
And the government is at pains to point out its new strategy is intended to be “robust and fair”, as well as covering “the entire country”. Similarly, the DfT says it wants to improve the “customer experience” at charge points, with support aimed at those without access to off-street parking, and on fast charging for longer journeys.
Some £500 million of the £1.6 billion total will be spent on “high-quality, competitively priced” public chargers, with £450 million spent on projects such as EV hubs and on-street charging designed to help those without off-street parking. And an existing £950 million fund will “support” the rollout of 6,000 “super-fast” charge points on England’s motorways by 2035.
“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,” said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. “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.”
Meanwhile Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the move would not only help the environment, but also reduce the UK’s dependence on foreign energy supplies.
“We’re powering ahead with plans to help British people go electric, with our expanding charging network making journeys easier right across the country,” he said. “Clean transport isn’t just better for the environment, but is another way we can drive down our dependence on external energy supplies. It will also create new high-skilled jobs for our automotive and energy sectors and ultimately secure more sustainable and affordable motoring for all.”