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UK commits £1.6B towards improving electric vehicle infrastructure

UK commits £1.6B towards improving electric vehicle infrastructure
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The UK Government has committed £1.6 billion towards improving the availability and usability of electric vehicle infrastructure.

Electric vehicles will be key to meeting climate targets and achieving the government’s aim to become more energy self-sufficient.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“We’re powering ahead with plans to help British people go electric, with our expanding charging network making journeys easier right across the country.

Clean transport isn’t just better for the environment but is another way we can drive down our dependence on external energy supplies.

It will also create new high-skilled jobs for our automotive and energy sectors and ultimately secure more sustainable and affordable motoring for all.”

While still some way off from being called “affordable” for most, government grants are helping to bring electric vehicles into more people’s budgets. Meanwhile, skyrocketing fossil fuel costs are increasing the appetite for electric alternatives. So, why is uptake still so lacklustre?

“Range anxiety” remains a major issue. While the recent fuel shortages may cause a change of view, many know they can quite easily top-up their petrol or diesel car within minutes in most places around the UK. The same can’t yet be said for electric vehicles.

It’s not too much of a problem if you’re in a position to have a charger installed at home where you can return at the end of the day and top-up overnight, but that’s not always possible. People living in flats or areas with limited/no private parking may simply not have that luxury.

There are currently around 30,000 charging stations around the UK. With the £1.6 billion announced today, the UK aims to increase that tenfold to 300,000 by 2030—just in time for the ban on the sale of new fossil fuel vehicles.

A previously announced £950 million Rapid Charging Fund will also see over 6,000 fast-charging stations established along England’s motorways by 2035. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps commented:

“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.

The scale of the climate challenge ahead of us all is well known and decarbonising transport is at the very heart of our agenda.

That’s why we’re ensuring the country is EV-fit for future generations by the end of this decade, revolutionising our charging network and putting the consumer first.”

The UK’s most-used charging network is operated by bp pulse. The operator has also committed £1 billion to expand its network and create hundreds of new jobs.

Richard Bartlett, Senior Vice President at bp pulse, said:

“This £1 billion investment is vital to provide the charging infrastructure the UK needs.  We’re investing to build a world-class network.

This investment allows us to deliver more. More high-speed charging in dedicated hubs and on existing fuel and convenience sites. More home charging services. And crucial enhancements to our digital technology that will make charging fast, easy, and reliable.”

Another regular complaint with electric vehicles is that not all chargers are compatible with all vehicles. You could breathe a sigh of relief at seeing an electric charger as your battery percentage ticks down only to find the plug doesn’t fit your vehicle.

New rules being introduced on operators will enable drivers to find compatible nearby charging points, compare prices, and pay via apps.

Taken together, the measures set out should help to give more people the confidence to switch to electric vehicles.

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