The UK government has announced a plan to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035 as part of a Ten Point Plan to tackle greenhouse gas emissions and achieve net zero by 2050.
In 2021, nearly one in eight of all new cars sold were electric vehicles. While the uptake of electric vehicles continues to accelerate, there are growing concerns over the accessibility of charging points.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has called on the UK government to invest more in the electric vehicle charging infrastructure to ease “charging anxiety” before it’s too late.
The government’s new EV Charging Infrastructure Strategy aims to boost electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the country by installing a minimum of 300,000 public charge points in the UK by 2030.
Backed by a £1.6 billion budget, the government aims to overcome barriers by improving the consumer experience at all charge points, making on-street charging easily accessible, and supporting those who are unable to benefit from off-street home chargers.
The new strategy aims to transform local on-street charging with a dedicated £500 million local infrastructure support programme. This includes a £450million Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) fund to support projects, such as EV hubs and on-street charging, plus up to £50million allocated to fund staff to work on local challenges and public charge point planning.
A £10 million pilot of the LEVI funding will launch in the spring, giving local authorities an early opportunity to start scaling up their local charging network.
According to the SMMT, there are over 140 electric vehicle models available at the time of writing (March 2022) in the UK and another 55 coming this year. Many of these can travel over 200 miles on a single charge.
Currently there are around 30,400 public charge points in the UK of which just over 5,400 are ‘rapid’ or ‘ultra-rapid’ (i.e., capable of charging an electric vehicle from 0 to 80% in around 30 minutes).
The new charging strategy will increase the number of rapid chargers to give drivers the confidence to travel longer journeys.
The Rapid Charging Fund will support the rollout of 6,000 high powered chargers along motorways and major A roads.
Motorway service area operators and large fuel retailers will be mandated to ensure a minimum of six high-powered, open-access chargepoints (150-350kW capable) available at specific sites to meet both actual and perceived demand by the end of 2023.