Drivers to benefit from £20 million EV chargepoint boost

Thursday, August 25, 2022 - 08:31
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Drivers will have better access to electric vehicle chargepoints across the country, through a new pilot backed by £20 million of government and industry funding announced today (24 August 2022).

Through the innovative Local EV Infrastructure (LEVI) pilot scheme, local authorities and industry will work together to create new, commercial EV charging infrastructure for residents, from faster on-street chargepoints to larger petrol station-style charging hubs.

The rollout supports the government’s drive to encourage more motorists to go electric, which can save drivers money on fuel and running costs, and improve air quality as the country moves towards net zero.

The winners of the pilot fund are:

  • Barnet
  • Dorset
  • Durham
  • Kent
  • Midlands Connect (with Lincolnshire as a lead authority)
  • North Yorkshire
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Suffolk
  • Warrington

The funding is expected to deliver over 1,000 public chargepoints across the areas.

The scheme will help residents without private driveways to have better access to EV chargers, as well as growing the charging network across the country, supporting the nation’s uptake of zero emission vehicles and enabling more people to drive and charge without fear of being caught short, no matter where they are.

The pilot is backed by £10 million of government funding shared among the 9 winning local authorities in the first tranche of the planned £450 million scheme, with winning pilot bids supported by an additional £9 million in private funding. A further £1.9 million will come from public funds across local authorities.

Decarbonisation Minister Trudy Harrison said: We want to expand and grow our world-leading network of EV chargepoints, working closely with industry and local government, making it even easier for those without driveways to charge their electric vehicles and support the switch to cleaner travel.

This scheme will help to level up electric vehicle infrastructure across the country, so that everyone can benefit from healthier neighbourhoods and cleaner air.

Edmund King OBE, AA president, said: It is essential that more on-street chargers are delivered to boost the transition to zero emission vehicles for those without home charging.

This injection of an extra £20 million funding will help bring power to electric drivers across England from Durham to Dorset. This is one further positive step on the road to electrification.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: We know that there are many drivers who do not have driveways or any form of off-street parking, so investing in streetside charging is an absolute necessity. Drivers can also look forward to the prospect of local charging hubs which will give them somewhere to quickly charge their vehicles without needing to drive any considerable distance. The goal must be to spark electric vehicle uptake by creating an excellent charging infrastructure that caters for everyone’s needs.

The scheme will allow local authorities to provide feedback on how to grow the network and the role the private sector can play.

The new LEVI fund builds on the success of the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) which has seen nearly 2,900 chargepoints installed so far with funding provided for approaching 10,000 additional chargepoints in the future.

Following growing demand from local authorities, we’re also announcing a further £10 million in funding which has been brought forward for this year, bringing this year’s ORCS funding to £30 million to help maintain ongoing installations.

Nick Earle, CEO, Eseye Commented: “We welcome today’s news of the UK government’s £20m funding for Electric Vehicle charge points. Providing funding for charge points outside of London, that will help to increase accessibility across the entire country, will undoubtedly help to stimulate EV adoption.

“However, we would like to highlight the importance of strong, reliable, 24/7 charge point connectivity in ensuring the smoothest consumer experience possible, especially in more rural areas. Considering the previous government charge point strategy in March, that detailed the expansion of the network by tenfold and outlined the requirement for a 99% reliability rate at rapid charge points, this can only be guaranteed through strong cellular connectivity, regardless of location.

“Drivers switching to EVs want to be assured that there is a reliable, available infrastructure to support them. This is essential to ensure customers have a swift and stress-free charging experience. Short delays in establishing connections between the consumer and the charge point can accumulate to cause unwanted hold-ups and reduce the efficiency of the charger. Unreliable and patchy connectivity, more prevalent in rural areas, can lead to inconsistent data tracking across an EV charging network and will lead to a loss in revenue if payments fail to process.

“It is therefore vital for charger manufacturers or operators to partner with connectivity specialists that can provide a reliable 24/7 connection. Expanding the EV charging network is essential but by providing the strongest cellular connection possible, downtime can be reduced, helping to assuage charge point and range anxiety.”

The BVRLA has welcomed the news of further investment in the UK’s charging infrastructure, marked by the Local EV Infrastructure pilot scheme. The pilot scheme sees nine local authorities share £20m of funding from the Office of Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) and industry to install 1,100 electric vehicle chargepoints in targeted ways across their regions. Creating real-world test beds will give others the guidance to recreate their success nationwide to develop a network that meets fleet and private user needs alike.

Commenting on the announcement, BVRLA Chief Executive, Gerry Keaney, said: “Getting the EV charging infrastructure right is the difference between the UK meeting its net zero targets and falling short. It remains a massive barrier to fleet users making the switch as investment to date has prioritised private users and overlooked the varied requirements of those driving for business.

Strategic investment that gets stakeholders representing all road users and vehicle types around the same table is the answer. The Local EV Infrastructure pilot scheme is a very positive development.

“These trials mark the perfect opportunity for forward-thinking regions to become beacons of how to meet fleet and private user needs together. They are creating the templates for the rest of the UK to follow. Armed with the BVRLA Fleet Charging Guide, which gives local authorities distinct, actionable recommendations for developing a charging network that works for all, we are ready to work in close collaboration with the winning regions.”

Jon Lawes, Managing Director, Novuna Vehicle Solutions, comments: “Today’s announcement is a welcome step in the right direction, particularly as many of the local authorities involved in the programme have fewer public EV charging points than the national average of 48 per 100,000 of the population.

“However, there is still a considerable way to go to provide adequate EV charging infrastructure – demand for electric vehicles continues to rise up and down the country, yet public charging provision is failing to keep pace with EV registrations and remains insufficient in the majority of parts of the UK.”

Tomas Edwards, CMO, Daloop, said: “It is great to see the UK Government’s announcement that they will provide £20M in industry funding for Electric Vehicle charge points. We particularly welcome the allocation of the funding towards local authorities outside of London, which is vital for improving charge point infrastructure accessibility across the country.

Lack of charging infrastructure is frequently seen as a key barrier preventing businesses and individuals from investing in EVs. A large part of the anxiety that is felt towards the EV transition is linked to these concerns about charge point availability, especially in areas outside of London and other metropolitan areas.

Without confidence in related infrastructure and supporting services, the anxiety amongst enterprises and individuals to switch to EVs will continue. To meet the steepening adoption curve, we need to ensure the infrastructure, management tools, and ancillary services are all in place to provide a smooth and cost-effective transition towards a green mobility service.

Continued funding and previous commitments from the UK Government will guarantee the expansion and development of the UK’s EV charging infrastructure, meaning that businesses and individuals can feel confident that they can make the switch to electric vehicles. A vital step in reducing range anxiety and for continuing the mass adoption towards a cleaner transportation system.”

Meryem Brassington, electrification propositions lead at Lex Autolease commented: “If the UK is to lead the way in electrification, then expanding the network of chargepoints is mission critical. Electric vehicle adoption levels are dominating the new car market and for this momentum to continue, drivers need access to widely available charging stations. This is particularly important for motorists without driveways to ensure that they don’t get left behind on the switch to electric.

“The government’s new £20million scheme will go some way to boosting the charging infrastructure across England and bringing power to many more EV drivers. Policymakers must continue to invest in the rollout of chargepoints outside of larger towns and cities to allow even more motorists the opportunity to go electric.”

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