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Five-fold increase in EV charging point installations needed by 2030

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The UK needs to ramp up the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charge points by five times the current rate if the plan to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 is to be achieved, the Policy Exchange think tank has said.

In late 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson committed to phasing out new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, a hastening of the original 2035 timeline.

This commitment reflected the urgent need to clean up the transport sector, which is now the UK’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Policy Exchange said the phase-out of petrol and diesel vehicles “will only be delivered” if drivers are confident that they will have access to a comprehensive network of EV chargepoints, allaying fears of ‘range anxiety’.

While it acknowledged that the majority of EV charging is expected to take place at home, it said there is a “critical role” for public chargepoints.

With a relative dearth of points across the UK - just 35,000 are currently in operation - its analysis showed that over the next decade, the UK must install chargepoints five times faster than the current rate.

Ultimately, the UK will need 400,000 public chargepoints when the sale of new conventionally-fuelled cars and vans is prohibited in 2030.

To reach this total, the annual rate at which new chargepoints are being installed must increase from around 7,000 over the past three years to 35,000 over the next decade.

The report recommends that in underserved areas, the government should procure chargepoints through competitive tenders.

In addition, the authors argue that the government should fund dedicated ‘Chargepoint Teams’ in local authorities to accelerate the rollout of chargepoints in their local area.

Ed Birkett, report author, said the government should focus on areas where it “isn’t delivering enough public chargepoints, including the north west of England, Yorkshire and Northern Ireland”.

Birkett said: “Companies are rolling out chargepoints at a record rate, but there’s a risk that some areas of the country won’t get enough chargepoints and will be left behind.

“We’re concerned about patchy deployment of chargepoints, which runs against the government’s plans for levelling up and a strong and connected Union.”

AA president Edmund King commented: “A comprehensive, contactless, reliable, affordable, simple-to-use charging infrastructure is essential to encourage consumers to take up EVs.”

Outside the UK, power industry group Eurelectric has called for an €80bn (£71bn) investment in European charging points to support the EU plan for a fifty-fold increase in electric cars this decade.

The EU has said it needs 30 million or more zero-emission cars on its roads by 2030 as part of efforts to cut emissions by at least 55 per cent this decade versus 1990 levels.

According to Eurelectric, there are fewer than 250,000 public electric vehicle charging points in the bloc which must rise to 3 million by 2030.

In related news today, Chinese and British researchers have designed a new type of rechargeable battery using salt as a key ingredient, which could accelerate the shift to greener, electric transport on our roads.

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