The Department for Transport has unveiled its EV infrastructure plan to advance the rollout of public charge points for electric vehicles, including a £ 450m fund that local authorities could use to expand the charge point provision in their area.
Local government funding, along with the £ 950m Rapid Charging Fund that supports 6,000 high-powered charger rollouts across the motorway network, are both components of a previously announced government investment package totaling 1.6bn.
DfT claims that by 2030, drivers should have access to around 300,000 public chargers, a number that is five times the number of fuel pumps at filling stations in the UK.
In a statement announcing the plan, DfT said the government’s goal is to expand the UK’s charging network so that it is strong, fair and covers the entire country.
“No matter where you live – whether in the city center or in the countryside, north, south, east or west of the country, we are introducing electric switches and making sure no one is left behind,” said Transport Secretary Grant Shaps.
As part of the new plan, DFT further announced that it would be mandatory for charge point operators to provide real-time data about their charge points and prices, as well as accept unconnected payments and meet 99 percent reliability standards.
There are no national guidelines for charger rollout
However, as there are no national guidelines on how the rollout should be implemented, the DFT leaves it to the local authorities to develop separate schemes. As a result, the Society of Motor Manufacturers has renewed its call for promoting a nationally integrated infrastructure, including mandatory targets that match the government’s targets for car manufacturers to stop producing internal combustion-engined vehicles. “If industry and consumers are to be assured of investment, they need to set consistent and binding targets for infrastructure provision,” said SMMT chief executive Mike House. “Deployed nationally and at speed, this expansion will give drivers confidence that they will be able to charge as easily as they refuel wherever they are.”
Under the official strategy, there is a promise to provide only an online ‘knowledge hub’ that sets out all its current guidelines for supporting local authority installations. DFT is allocating up to £ 50 million of the new ই 450 million Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) fund for councils to recruit staff to assist with strategy and planning. The DFT says the rest of the money should be spent on projects like ‘EV Hub’ and on-street charging so that they do not miss cleaner transport without a driveway.
The strategy has been cautiously welcomed by the AA. “The government recognizes that ease of use, reliability, slow roll-out without home charging and improving motorway charging are essential for them,” said spokesman Edmund King. “We want to see urgent action in all of these areas and we call for a greater focus on improving charging solutions in rural locations, improving customer experience in terms of safety at charge points in dark, isolated areas and accessibility for disabled drivers. “
SMMT has called on the leadership of the government regarding charging
Just a day before DfT’s charging infrastructure announcement, the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) called for a “universal right to charge” because the proportion of public charge points on electric vehicles had dropped by half in the previous 12 months. There is now a charge point for every 32 plug-in vehicles, compared to one for every 16 vehicles in 2021.
Mike House, chief executive of SMMT, says there is now more focus on “charge concerns” than range concerns, as the UK’s electric car charging infrastructure struggles to keep up with strong EV sales.
Hawes called on the government to “invest more in standard public charging” with a greater focus on “on-street charging” for those unable to top up their car batteries at home. He said that if the UK wanted to meet its targets by 2030 and beyond, drivers needed “the right place before the time, the right charger”.
Although one in 20 of the cars registered so far this year is electric – one in 1,700 in 2011 – SMMT estimates that by the end of the decade there could be 9.3 million EVs on UK roads. A number that will almost double to 18.4 million in 2035.
Hawes and his team want to see an unequal ratio of chargers and vehicles addressed through the promotion of a nationally integrated infrastructure. They say the infrastructure roll-out requires binding targets, which would match the targets imposed on the car industry to accelerate EV switchover. DfT, however, is taking a different path.
Fleet and company car sales EV boom fuel
In a statement at the 2022 SMMT Electrified Conference in London, aimed at uniting industry stakeholders and the government to accelerate the transition to Net Zero, the company further highlighted that only one-third of the new plug-in models sold in 2021 were purchased by private motorists. , With the majority going fleets and company car drivers.
Businesses see big tax benefits, while incentives for private drivers to switch to EVs are being withdrawn. As a result – and despite much more supply than demand – SMMT says EV adoption in the UK is lagging behind some European countries.
“The UK automotive industry has invested heavily (ভি 10.8 billion in EV and battery production) in Britain’s first electric decade,” House said. “As we enter the second, the amount of bets is higher, but the orders of the manufacturers alone will not drive the market.”
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