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Electric vehicle charging: plan to increase charge points ten-fold explained - and reaction from car industry

Around £500 million will be invested in the installation of charge points

The Government has announced plans to increase public electric vehicle charge points ten-fold in the UK.

Around £500 million will be invested in the installation of charge points.

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Here we take a look at the Government’s plan and the reaction from the car industry.

What are the Government’s proposals for public electric vehicle charge points?

The Government aims to increase the number of public electric vehicle charge points from 30,000 to 300,000 by 2030.

A rollout of at least 6,000 rapid chargers across England’s motorways by 2035 will be supported by the existing £950m Rapid Charging fund.

Electric vehicles (EV) charge at a charging station in east London (Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

There have been positive reactions across the car industry, with Joel Teague, CEO of home electric charger sharing app Co Charger, welcoming the commitment to EV uptake.

The proposals specifically mention the fact that EV owners could rent their private charge points to other drivers, with Teague ‘delighted’ to see this included, adding: “For the estimated 14 million motorists who can’t have a car charger at home this can provide access to bookable, reliable, affordable charging and finally allow them to run an electric vehicle.

“Community Charging means that rather than waiting for future private, national, and local Government investment in charging infrastructure to be rolled out, communities can revolutionise the EV charging network now.”

Fiona Howarth, CEO of Octopus Electric Vehicles, also praised the focus on community charging, saying: “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.”

What has the reaction been to the Government’s plan?

Edmund King, president of motoring organisation the AA, said that ‘it is vital that we get our charging infrastructure in order’ given the deadline for EV-only sales. In 2030, the UK will ban the sale of vehicles without some form of electrification, and by 2035, only fully electric vehicles can be sold new.

King welcomed the investment but indicated that there is still a lot of work to be done, adding: “The Government does appear to recognise that ease of use, reliability, slow roll-out for those without home charging and improving charging on motorways, are all essential.

“We would like to see urgent action in all of these areas, plus we have also called for more focus on charging solutions in rural locations, improvements to the customer experience in terms of safety at charge points in dark, isolated areas and accessibility for disabled drivers.

“To bring confidence and power to potential electric car drivers we need more, and more reliable and accessible charge points as soon as possible.”

Ian Plummer, commercial director of online car marketplace Auto Trader, was more sceptical of the investment, saying: “A ten-fold increase in charging points by 2030 is a noble ambition but whether £500m is enough to deliver the gear-shift on EV charging the country needs remains to be seen. The money will be spread quite thinly.

“The plan puts the onus on councils to develop their own infrastructure, but we would have liked to see central Government taking more of a strategic lead. The roll-out has been uneven so far as London and the South-East account for nearly half of all charging points, and the UK lags behind many other European countries.

“If people are going to buy EVs, they need to see available charging stations, not queues. The problem is compounded by the Government’s short-sighted approach to incentives for EV buyers.”

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