The UK’s Electric Vehicle (EV) charging network expansion is to be accelerated to around 300,000 by 2030 – a ten-fold increase on the current availability – the Department for Transport (DfT) announced on March 25th.The Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy
to improve consumer experience with EV chargers also pledges to significantly support people without access to off-street parking and will provide faster charging for longer journeys.
With a £1.6 billion backing, operators will be legally required to provide contactless payments, and customers will be able to price compare and find available charge points via smart phone apps.
There were approximately 420,000 pure-electric cars on UK roads at the end of February, according to the comparison website Next Green Car
. There were, however, only 30,299 public charge points in the UK on 24 March, according to data company Zap-Map
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “We’re powering ahead with plans to help British people go electric, with our expanding charging network making journeys easier right across the country.
“Clean transport isn’t just better for the environment but is another way we can drive down our dependence on external energy supplies. It will also create new high-skilled jobs for our automotive and energy sectors and ultimately secure more sustainable and affordable motoring for all.”
The DfT says that its ambition is to ensure that charging an EV becomes cheaper and easier than refuelling a petrol or diesel car. It estimates that England will quadruple its stock of rapid charging points by 2025, and when all charging points are taken into account – rapid and otherwise – the Government is targeting a tenfold increase by 2030, a figure that is 5 times greater than the current number of open petrol stations.
Oil giants BP also confirmed it would spend £1 billion on new UK charger infrastructure as part of its plans to diversify revenues.
Key industry figures have been responding to the announcement.
The AA’s president Edmund King: “While great progress has been made, there is still much to do to convince drivers on the number, and importantly reliability, of charge posts. To bring confidence and power to potential EV drivers we need more reliable and accessible charge points as soon as possible.”
The RAC’s head of policy Nicholas Lyes: “We are concerned that this is not going to be sufficient with drivers looking to switch to an EV en masse ahead of the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. Many current and would-be EV drivers worry that charging units will be out of order when they arrive to charge their vehicles, so it is vitally important this is addressed.”
Octopus Electric Vehicles’ chief executive Fiona Howarth: “It’s great to see support for a broad range of reliable charging – from high-speed, convenient rapids for topping up on longer journeys; to affordable local charging for regular use. The reality is that most people won’t use rapid chargers often – alternatively using home, workplace, kerbside and community charging that cost as little as £5 to fill up, instead of up to £40 at a rapid. But having an increasing base of reliable rapid chargers will continue to build confidence and encourage more people to make the switch to clean, green driving.”
Melanie Shufflebotham, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Zap-Map, said: “EV charging infrastructure is already growing at around 60% year-on-year in the two key areas of ultra-rapid charging and on-street provision, but it isn’t equally distributed. Some areas of the country covered better than others – Scotland and London far more so than Wales and Northern Ireland, for example.”
There are still environmental concerns about the sustainability in the manufacturing process and the industry needs to address the ‘circularity’ of production to make sure that limited resources such as lithium, nickel, manganese and cobalt are recycled at end-of-life and supply is properly monitored and managed at origin as well as recycling.
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