Huge expansion in number of public electric car charge points revealed

Politics

Electric vehicle owners will have access to 300,000 public charge points by the end of the decade, the government has said.

Some £500m will be invested to hit the target, according to the Department for Transport, which represents a 10-fold increase on the current 30,000 public charge points across the UK.

The 2030 deadline is the same date the government aims to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles, as motorists are encouraged to go electric to help the UK hit net zero by 2050.

Read more: Every key policy in UK’s plan to reach net zero

Helping drivers without access to off-street parking will be a focus when rolling out the new charge points.

The plan, part of the government’s wider Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy, also highlights the need to ensure readily accessible fast charging for longer journeys.

At least 6,000 superfast charge points will be installed across England’s motorways by 2035 as part of an existing £950m commitment.

More on Electric Cars

Each of these will be required to have a 99% reliability rate to ensure a good experience for drivers.

Operators will also be mandated to provide real-time data enabling consumers to check the status of devices and compare prices, and accept contactless payments.

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London to Glasgow in an electric car

Rural areas promised they won’t miss out

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has vowed that the rollout of public charge points will cater to all areas – not just urban centres.

“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,” he said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the plan would be “another way we can drive down our dependence on external energy supplies”, as the UK looks to wean itself off Russian oil and gas following the invasion of Ukraine.

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The war and subsequent sanctions placed on Russia has seen prices soar at the pumps in the UK – potentially increasing the appeal of electric vehicles for many drivers.

Mr Johnson added: “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 transport secretary will be live on Sky News Breakfast from 7am on Friday.

Drivers queue for fuel at a Sainsbury's fuel station in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire. Drivers and businesses have been hit by a record daily increase in diesel prices. Figures from data firm Experian Catalist show the average cost of a litre of the fuel at UK forecourts reached 165.2p on Tuesday, up nearly 3p on Monday's 162.3p. Picture date: Wednesday March 9, 2022.
Image:
Russia’s war in Ukraine has seen fuel prices soar

Government warned target may not meet demand

With the 2030 target for banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in place, electric car sales are on the up.

Plug-in vehicles – which include pure electrics and plug-in hybrids – accounted for more than one in six new cars registered in the UK in 2021.

Read more: All you need to know about the electric future of motoring

RAC head of policy Nicholas Lyes said that while the government’s commitment on charge points was welcome, he warned that it may not go far enough.

“We are concerned that this is not going to be sufficient with drivers looking to switch to an electric vehicle en masse ahead of the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars,” he said.

And he stressed the need for the charge points to be of a good standard.

“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,” he added.

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