Government doubles funding for on-street electric car charging

Grant Shapps MP, Transport Secretary

Owning and charging an electric vehicle is set to become more convenient than ever thanks to an additional £2.5 million to fund the installation of over 1,000 new chargepoints, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced today.

The funding will support the on-street residential chargepoint scheme, launched in 2017, which helps people access charging infrastructure near their homes when they don’t have off-street parking. It will go towards helping local authorities to install these chargepoints, which can be built into existing structures like lamp-posts. The scheme aims to encourage even more people to choose an electric vehicle by making it easier to charge their cars near home, following a 158% increase in battery electric vehicle sales compared to July last year.

The scheme has already seen 16 local authorities prepared to install 1,200 chargepoints this year. The Transport Secretary is now doubling funding for the popular scheme to meet demand and accelerate the take-up of electric vehicles as the UK moves towards net zero emissions by 2050 and further improve air quality.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “It’s fantastic that there are now more than 20,000 publicly accessible chargepoints and double the number of electric vehicle chargepoints than petrol stations, but we want to do much more.

“It’s vital that electric vehicle drivers feel confident about the availability of chargepoints near their homes, and that charging an electric car is seen as easy as plugging in a smartphone.

“That’s why we are now doubling the funding available for local authorities to continue building the infrastructure we need to super-charge the zero emission revolution – right across the country.”

The allocation of funding for on-street residential chargepoints is part of the £1.5bn investment underpinned by the Road to Zero Strategy. The strategy consists of one of the most comprehensive packages of support for the transition to zero emission vehicles in the world, supporting the move towards a cleaner, greener, accessible and reliable UK transport network.

As part of this, the Government is also investing £37m into British engineering to develop electric chargepoint infrastructure that could rapidly expand the UK chargepoint network for people without off-street parking and put the UK on the map as the best place in the world to own an electric vehicle.

Innovations to receive investment include underground charging systems, solar powered charging forecourts and wireless charging projects. Much like current mobile phone technology, wireless charging could mean an end to needing to plug your electric vehicle in.

Commenting on the Department for Transports announcement to double funding for on-street electric car charging, Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA says; “The success of the UK’s EV revolution hinges on access to charging infrastructure and many neighbourhoods so far feel disconnected. This announcement is therefore very welcome news but there is still a long way to go.

“One of the largest hurdles for prospective electric vehicle owners is charging at home when they do not have an allocated parking space.

“Considering there are more than 400 local authorities across the UK*, only 4% of them have installed on-street charging in residential areas.

“If we are going to meet the Road to Zero targets, councils and central Government will need to do more to help ease the transition for drivers and dispel their fears of not finding somewhere to charge.”

Sebastian Speight, Managing Director of Infrastructure at Ingenious, said: “There is a justifiable concern about the drag on the adoption of electric vehicles in the UK due to the limits on the speed of rolling out the associated charging infrastructure. There are currently a number of market participants developing and implementing strategies for rolling out charging infrastructure but there is also a reasonable degree of uncertainty about the future patterns of consumer behaviour which creates a level of risk in these business models which has a closer fit with strategic or venture capital rather than more traditional infrastructure capital. These uncertainties are around the technology type (AC versus DC), charging location and fear of stranded assets and convergence of operating systems. A closer involvement from public stakeholders should enable greater visibility on these risks and increase the availability of private capital.”

Ian Johnston, CEO of Engenie, rapid charging providers has provided the following comment: “The government’s investment in on-street charging is an important step in increasing the uptake of electric vehicles. This move complements the substantial private investment in thousands of public-access chargers at locations such as pubs, supermarkets and retail parks which is essential for those without access to off-street charging.”

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