Local authorities are being urged to take advantage of a £20 million cash injection to boost the number of on-street electric vehicle chargepoints in towns and cities across the UK.
In a letter to councils across Britain, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has today (2 February 2021) announced that funding for the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) will continue into 2021/22, allowing residents without private parking to reliably charge their vehicle.
Since its inception in 2017, more than 140 local authority projects have benefitted from the scheme, which has supported applications for nearly 4,000 chargepoints across the UK. This funding boost could double that, adding nearly 4000 more chargepoints in our towns and cities, tackling poor air quality and supporting economic growth as we build back greener from the pandemic.
Local councils play an essential role in providing electric vehicle infrastructure and so in partnership with Energy Saving Trust, the Department for Transport is welcoming applications from councils which are yet to apply for funding, as well as those that have already benefitted.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “From Cumbria to Cornwall, drivers across the country should benefit from the electric vehicle revolution we’re seeing right now.
“With a world-leading charging network, we’re making it easier for more people to switch to electric vehicles, creating healthier neighbourhoods and cleaning up our air as we build back greener.”
The UK is already a global frontrunner in the shift to electric vehicles. The Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan set out that we will accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, which could create 40,000 extra jobs by 2030, and transforming our national infrastructure to better support electric vehicles, backed by a total of £2.8 billion and supporting around 169,000 jobs. Of this funding, £1.3 billion is set to be invested in charging infrastructure over the next 4 years.
Nick Harvey, senior programme manager at Energy Saving Trust, said: “The confirmation of £20 million of funding for the ORCS in 2021/22 is great news. This funding will allow local authorities to install convenient and cost-effective electric vehicle charging infrastructure for those who rely on on-street parking. This helps to support the fair transition to the increased adoption of low carbon transport.
“We’re therefore encouraging local authorities to access this funding as part of their plans to decarbonise transport and improve local air quality.”
Edmund King, AA president, says: “Good progress is being made but in order to help current and future EV drivers, more charge points will need to be installed. For the 40% of households without designated off-street parking, finding a viable, cheap and simple to use solution, is key.
“However, our own study last year showed that some councils used this grant to only fund charge points in town centre car parks*. While car park chargers are important, we feel this goes against the spirit of the grant which is aimed at overcoming tackling the problem of EV drivers without off-street parking.
“The charging network must also be reliable which is why we are working with chargepoint operators to help keep the power flowing**.”
Chris Burghardt, MD – Europe at ChargePoint: “ChargePoint welcomes the UK commitment to funding EV charging infrastructure – this is an important signal to drivers that charging infrastructure is increasing and this will give drivers the confidence to go electric. Now that the electric vehicle (EV) market is reaching a tipping point of mainstream adoption, increased investment in EV infrastructure is vital in supporting purchasing of new EVs and essential if we are going to reach full EV adoption by 2030. However, whilst this investment is an important step in achieving widespread EV adoption, more can be done.
“More still needs to be done in regards to cross industry collaboration to make current charging stations more accessible for drivers. ChargePoint believes an important part of this vital driver confidence is for the UK to have a fully interoperable ‘roamable’ charging network where any driver can use any station without being concerned about apps and membership cards. Only when this is achieved will we see adoption increase to the pace that we need.”
David Watson, CEO, Ohme: “As today’s report shows, there is an urgent need to invest in the UK’s EV charging infrastructure to accommodate the 10 million EVs that will be on the roads of Britain by 2030.
But simply installing more charging points is only solving part of the problem. As we move to mass adoption of EVs, it’s vital that alongside building out the charging network, we focus on future proofing our energy infrastructure and protecting the National Grid as it copes with unprecedented new levels of demand from electric vehicles.
To do this, we need to find ways to better manage energy demand through smart charging solutions that allow EV owners to charge their vehicle when demand is lowest, and electricity is therefore cheapest. By prioritising smart charging solutions at scale, we can balance the grid and facilitate a smooth transition to zero-carbon transport by 2030.”