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Boost in charging infrastructure as part of Road to Zero strategy

By Mark Salisbury
Monday, July 9, 2018 - 08:37

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The Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, will today (Monday, 9 July) outline proposals to enable a major uplift in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, paving the way for the widespread adoption of ultra-low emission vehicles.

A number of initiatives outlined in the Government’s Road to Zero Strategy will pave the way for a significant expansion of on and off-street charging facilities, which could lead to hundreds of thousands more chargepoints around the country.

They would deliver a huge boost to green transport infrastructure, making it more convenient to charge electric vehicles and removing one of the obstacles to their widespread adoption.

The Road to Zero Strategy will help the Government to achieve key elements of its Industrial Strategy – leading the industries of the future and building the UK’s competitiveness in the face of major global economic trends.

The strategy is technology neutral and does not speculate on which technologies might help to deliver the Government’s 2040 mission. The Government sees a role for a broad range of technologies, including hybrids, as part of this strategy.

The Government will further look to prepare for and capitalise on the opportunities which will arise from the profound changes in how people, goods and services will move around the country through its Future of Mobility Grand Challenge.

The measures in the strategy on electric vehicle infrastructure will include:

  • Making sure houses being built in England are electric vehicle ready by consulting as soon as possible on introducing a requirement for chargepoint infrastructure for new dwellings where appropriate.
  • Future-proofing the UK’s streets by ensuring all new street lighting columns have charging points, where appropriately located, in areas with current on-street parking.
  • Consulting on amending Building Regulations to also require charging facilities in new non-residential buildings like offices.
  • Launching a £400m Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund to help accelerate the roll-out of charging infrastructure by providing funding to new and existing companies that produce and install charge points.
  • Creating a new £40m programme to develop and trial innovative, low cost wireless and on-street charging technology.
  • Increasing the grant level available through the Workplace Charging Scheme to 75% of the purchase and costs of a chargepoint, paving the way for more green transport infrastructure in businesses.
  • Investing £4.5 million in the On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme until 2020, paving the way for thousands more chargepoints by offering funding to help meet the cost of local authorities installing the green kit for residents.

The Government is also taking powers through the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill to ensure chargepoints are easily accessed and used across the UK, available at motorway service areas and large fuel retailers and are also smart ready.

Speaking at an event tomorrow to mark publication of the Road to Zero strategy, the Transport Secretary will say he wants to work with industry on the plan to pave the way “for the biggest overhaul in road transport technology since the development of the Benz Patent Motorcar over 130 years ago.”

And he will set out a plan for electric car drivers to “find it easier to recharge their vehicles than motorists today who have to visit a filling station.”

The Transport Secretary will say:

“The Road to Zero Strategy, combined with the measures we’ve already introduced, will mean Britain now has one of the most comprehensive support packages for zero emission vehicles in the world.

“We want the UK to become the best country in the world in which to develop and manufacture zero emission vehicles.

“The prize is not just a cleaner and healthier environment but a UK economy fit for the future and the chance to win a substantial slice of a market estimated to be worth up to £7.6 trillion by 2050.”

The charging infrastructure proposals will be among a raft of wider measures and commitments, which are part of the delivery of the Prime Minister’s modern Industrial Strategy, to put the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles.

As set out in the Government’s Air Quality Plan, the UK will end the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040.

Commenting on the Department for Transports boost in charging infrastructure*, Edmund King, AA president says; “Charging infrastructure is going to play a vital role in converting drivers away from traditional combustion engines and into electric vehicles.

“27% of drivers in the UK and 52% in London don’t have the luxury of a driveway or garage for a charging point and therefore it will mean on-street capability is of paramount importance.

“It is right that streetlights on existing roads are utilised and that new developments are prepared for the switch to electric cars. But the electric revolution needs more than just a point at every home.

“Encouraging workplaces, supermarkets, shopping centres and petrol stations to start installing charging points and help convince drivers that they won’t be left stranded at the roadside is needed. Three fifths (62%) say they would be more likely to buy an EV if there were more ‘destination’ charging points at locations like supermarkets and hotels.

“Eight of 10 drivers say that the lack of charging points is a stumbling block to them buying an electric vehicle, so a big push on a range of slow, fast and rapid charging points should help overcome this hurdle. The challenge is then for manufactures to make a car with buying.

“These Road to Vision Zero proposals are a step in the right direction but there is still much to do to wean drivers off petrol and diesel cars.”

David Martell, Chief Executive of Chargemaster, said: “We welcome the government’s continued support for electric vehicles, which are already enabling zero-emission motoring for over 150,000 drivers in the UK. We are very pleased to see the continued focus on supporting home charging, as well as an increase in the Workplace Charging Scheme, and a commitment to encourage the installation of charging infrastructure in new developments, which will cost less than retrofitting it in the future. Chargemaster is expanding POLAR, the UK’s largest public charging network at pace, and under the ownership of BP, our ambitious plans for growth will only be accelerated.”

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