Electric vehicle charging points to rise tenfold
Motorists have been promised a tenfold increase in the number of electric vehicle charging points following criticism that the creation of a nationwide network is too slow.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said it would back private investment with an additional £450m to increase the number to 300,000 by 2030 when the sale of new cars and vans fuelled by petrol and diesel will be banned. The investment will focus on more hubs and on-street chargers. BP has announced it will invest £1 billion.
Operators of the charge points will be required to provide real-time data enabling consumers to check the status of devices and compare prices, and accept contactless payments.
Grant Shapps, the UK Transport Secretary, said: “No matter where you live, be that a city centre or rural village, the north, south, east or west of the country, we’re powering up the switch to electric and ensuring no one gets left behind in the process.”
ChargePlace Scotland, the national Electric Vehicle (EV) charging network owned by the Scottish Government, said that as of February this year there were 2,239 publicly available chargers across the country.
The Scottish government said in January it aimed to double that figure, but the latest UK government target implies a need for about 30,000 in Scotland, or 4,000 per year.
Holyrood has also supported more than 14,000 private charging points in people’s homes and 1,400 in businesses.
The latest announcement comes after motoring organisations warned that the roll-out of EV charging points is failing to keep up with demand for electric cars and vans.
There were 420,000 electric-only cars on UK roads at the end of February, but only 29,600 public charge points, according to the latest analysis.
Car manufacturers say the lack of infrastructure and complaints that many chargers are out of order is holding back many customers from buying electric cars which accounted for 18% of new-car registrations in February, according to the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders. In Scotland, 21.4% of all new car sales in December 2021 were electric or hybrid.
Mike Hawes, the SMMT’s chief executive, said he wanted binding targets on the charger rollout.
“Charging infrastructure must keep pace with the rapid growth of sales of these cars,” he said. “Deployed nationally and at pace, this expansion would give drivers confidence they will be able to charge as easily as they would refuel, wherever they are.”
Edmund King, the president of the AA, said: “Whilst great progress has been made, there is still much to do to convince drivers on the number, and importantly reliability, of charge posts.”