We brought you the news earlier about the UK government announcing a £1.6 billion investment to reach 300,000 public electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints by 2030. This is a big deal and will help with the rapid number of electric cars that are being sold in the UK.
In 2021, more plug-in vehicles were sold than for the last decade combined, so the need for new and convenient infrastructure is much needed and welcomed by electric vehicle drivers and the EV industry as a whole.
The government will also be working with private companies to make this rollout happen, including bp pulse, who are planning to spend an extra £1 billion on electric vehicle charge points in the UK. They are planning to double their current 8,000 chargers to 16,000 fast chargers by 2030.
Here’s what Boris Johnson, Prime Minister, and Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, had to say about the announcement:
Boris Johnson, Prime Minister
“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.
“Even with recent trends in electricity prices, EVs still benefit from lower fuel, running and maintenance costs than their petrol and diesel equivalents and the strategy hopes to encourage drivers across the nation to make the switch.
“Production costs also continue to fall and some analysts expect purchase price parity with petrol and diesel cars to be reached well within the 2020s.
This forms part of wider government plans to reduce the UK’s reliance on imports of foreign oil, improving the security of our energy supply and reducing the country’s vulnerability to volatility in global energy prices.”
Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary
“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.”
Richard Bartlett, bp pulse senior vice president, 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.”
Here are reactions from some of the key players in the UK electric vehicle sphere and their thoughts on this announcement:
James Court, CEO EVA England
“Price transparency, better roaming services and increased charger reliability are important pieces of the jigsaw puzzle helping increase the confidence of people looking to make the switch to EVs, as well as giving our members a better service which we welcome.
Gill Nowell, Head of EV at LV= General Insurance
“This strategy shows the Government’s ambition for electric cars, but more still needs to be done in order to help people feel comfortable to make the switch to electric.
“It’s vital that charging provision is rolled out equitably across the UK, and that those who cannot charge at home are not disadvantaged by having to pay more than those who can.
“Additionally, there has to be a flexible approach undertaken to truly ensure that the right chargers are located in the right place to meet changing needs, and crucially are safe to use and accessible to everyone.”
Nicholas Lyes, RAC Head of Policy
“With the electric vehicle revolution already underway, it’s vital the UK’s charging infrastructure is fit for purpose and keeps pace. It’s pleasing that the Government recognises the value of mandating contactless payment and will also set ambitious reliability targets on the chargepoints themselves.
“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.
“The development of local charging hubs, which we have called for, for some time, will also play a crucial role in helping the estimated one-third of drivers who can’t charge at home as they don’t have a driveway or garage.
“With the number of new electric vehicles coming on to our roads accelerating at an impressive rate, it is vital the Government has ambitious targets on installing new public chargepoints ahead of 2030.
“While the Government’s expectation of having 300,000 chargepoints available by 2030 might sound impressive, 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.
“Additionally, accessibility standards and assistance for those without smartphone apps should also be part of the overall strategy.”
Edmund King, AA President
“As we advance quickly to the 2030 deadline for new zero-emission vehicles, it is vital that we get our charging infrastructure in order. While great progress has been made, there is still much to do to convince drivers on the number, and importantly reliability, of charge posts.
“To bring confidence and power to potential electric car drivers we need more, and more reliable and accessible charge points as soon as possible.”
Paul Willcox, Vauxhall Managing Director
“The electric vehicles (EVs) sold now not only help to reduce air pollution and our fossil fuel use today but they become the used electric vehicles of tomorrow – enabling more of the UK to transition quicker to zero-emissions-in-use motoring.
“With demand for EVs rising, and an expanding choice of EVs available, we believe that public confidence in a visible, reliable and easy to use charging network is key – especially for those who do not have the luxury of off-street charging.
“Vauxhall recently welcomed the Government’s Zero Emission Vehicle mandate announcement – a target on the amount of EVs sold in the UK – on the basis of it taking a 360-degree approach and including complimentary targets on charging infrastructure.
“Whilst we welcome the Government’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy, we feel that it is a missed opportunity to provide certainty to customers by mandating binding targets on the roll-out of the charging infrastructure in the UK. It is essential that infrastructure keeps pace with market demand, or in fact leads demand, to remove any customer fears of ‘charging anxiety’ and accelerates the electrification of Britain’s roads as quickly as possible.”
Mark Richards, partner and EMEA leader Energy, Environment & Infrastructure Practice, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
“The UK Government’s national charging strategy provides much welcomed direction towards the goal of building a world beating EV charging network.”
“Government policy support is essential as it drives confidence for our real estate, infrastructure and industrial clients who will be called upon to provide significant private investment to scale the vision of a nationwide charging network.”
“Abundant charging gives confidence to drivers and fleet owners to make the switch from vehicles powered by increasingly expensive fossil fuels to BEVs. The environmental benefits and opportunities for ESG compatible private sector investment will be enormous.”
Ian Plummer, Auto Trader commercial director
“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.”
“Even if today’s ambitions on charging infrastructure are met, the pace is unlikely to keep up with expected growth in EV sales, so we also need this investment urgently to give confidence to those drivers looking to make the switch.”
“We need to remember we’re asking people to make a massive shift in behaviour, without compelling financial reasons. The government has chosen not to follow the successful financial incentive models adopted by the likes of Norway; it must at least then remove the complexity of buying an EV and critically, make them easier to live with. This strategy is a move in the right direction, but more immediate action is required.”
“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.”
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive
“Government has rightly recognised that Britain’s electric mobility revolution must put the needs of the consumer at the heart of the transition. Consumers already have certainty about the vehicles, with ever-increasing choice, thanks to billions of pounds of manufacturer investment, but charging infrastructure must keep pace with the rapid growth of sales of these cars.”
“The EV infrastructure strategy points in the right direction, addressing problems with the current customer charging experience and setting out a nationally co-ordinated, locally delivered plan which aims to ‘build ahead of need’. The UK already has an enviable and ever-growing rapid charging network, so focus must be given to expanding public on-street and destination charging provision.”
“Every stakeholder will have to play their part in this transition but, if industry and consumers are to have the certainty they need to invest, commensurate and binding targets must be set for infrastructure provision. 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.”
Ian Johnston, Osprey Charging CEO
“Today’s announcement by the government is an important step towards ensuring that we have the right number of charging points in all locations across the UK. This is crucial to give everyone the confidence that when they make the switch to electric, they will be able to charge as easily as they refuel today – whenever and wherever they are. These charging stations simply must be reliable, easy to navigate and importantly, accessible for all.”
“There are already many billions of pounds of private investment committed for the deployment of charging infrastructure across the UK from leading networks like Osprey, and the announcements today will allow this funding to provide the critical infrastructure to the areas that are as yet underserved – notably the motorway service areas and the Local Authority towns and cities across the nation. We look forward to working with the government to help bring this strategy to life, delivering a high quality, inclusive, open-access and reliable charging network that’s worry free, comfortable and enjoyable to use.”
Phil Shadbolt OBE, EZ-Charge
“Those of us in EV circles have always been very quick to criticise the government when they’ve got things wrong in the past or when they’ve been too slow to act or too lacking in ambition. So, it’s only fair that we give praise when it’s due. Today’s announcement of the new Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy delivers the right level of investment and ambition at exactly the right time.”
“This will make a massive difference and will really help the UK become global leaders in electric vehicle adoption. The announcement of the new funding is one thing and is certainly very welcome. But it’s the introduction of the new legislation I’m most pleased about. For too long many charge point operators have tried to force customers to use only their networks by making them pay a membership fee or download an app to charge. This is not only really inconvenient for electric car drivers, it’s really off-putting to those thinking about making the switch.”
Ade Thomas, Founder of green.tv, World EV Day and the EV Summit
“Great news for EV UK, with the new government infrastructure plans, announced today. There are multiple layers of EV infrastructure here, over and above the tenfold increase in public chargers from 30,000 to 300,000.
“There will also be a payment infrastructure, with mandatory contactless payment and operational infrastructure, with operators required to have a 99 percent reliability rate at rapid chargepoints.
“Plus, they will be a data infrastructure, with apps for customers to find the nearest available charge point and a requirement for operators to provide real-time data for customers to check the status of charge points.”