Electric Car charge with cable in fast charging station

Government unveils strategy for tenfold increase in EV chargepoints by 2030

Image credit: Rokas Tenys/Dreamstime

The government has set out plans for a tenfold increase in the number of public electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints by 2030, but some critics say the plans do not go far enough.

In a new strategy published today, the government said it would funnel £1.6bn into expanding the UK charging network. The announcement came alongside the confirmation of a £1bn investment plan from BP to expand and upgrade its Pulse EV charging network across the UK.

The strategy includes a target to make around 300,000 public chargers available by 2030 - equivalent to almost five times the number of fuel pumps on UK roads today.

In 2020, the Climate Change Committee, which advises the government on its net zero ambitions, estimated 325,000 public charging points would be needed by 2032. Currently there are around 29,000 public plug-in points.

However, the RAC said it was concerned 300,000 may still not be enough.

Nicholas Lyes, RAC’s head of policy, said: “While the government’s expectation of having 300,000 chargepoints available by 2030 might sound impressive, we are concerned that this is not going to be sufficient with drivers looking to switch to an electric vehicle en-masse ahead of the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.”

This funding announced by the government includes a £450m Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) fund, which will boost projects such as EV hubs and innovative on-street charging.

A pilot scheme for the LEVI fund, launched today, will see local authorities bid for a share of £10m in funding, allowing selected areas to work with industry and boost public charging opportunities.

Meanwhile, the LEVI funding includes up to £50m to pay for staff to work on local challenges and public chargepoint planning. The government says this will ensure that any development complements all other zero-emission forms of travel, such as walking and cycling.

The £1.6bn touted by the government also includes an existing £950m Rapid Charging Fund, which will support the roll-out of at least 6,000 high-powered super-fast chargepoints across England’s motorways by 2035.

As part of the strategy, the government is requiring operators to provide real-time data about chargepoints. This is aimed at ensuring 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 chargepoint.

The strategy comes amid growing concerns that a lack of EV charging infrastructure could inhibit the take-up of EVs, seen as crucial if the UK is to meet its net-zero targets.

In research carried out by the ECA last November, more than half (52 per cent) of local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland said electric vehicle chargepoints were prohibitively expensive to install. The ECA also found that two-thirds of local authorities had no electric vehicle charging strategy in place.

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