Electric car charging network to receive £56million boost

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A total of 2,400 new electric vehicle chargepoints will be installed in locations such as Cumbria, Norfolk, Oxfordshire and West Sussex as part of £56million in public and industry funding. Sixteen more local authority areas will receive money as part of the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) pilot scheme.

The three original pilot schemes – in Durham, the London borough of Barnet and North Yorkshire – will be expanded.

Councils will also be given support to work with private operators towards the installation of “tens of thousands more” chargepoints in the long term, according to the DfT.

At the end of January 2023, there were 37,851 electric vehicle charging points across the UK, across 22,355 charging locations. 

This represents a 31 percent increase in the total number of charging devices since January 2022, according to data from Zap-Map.

The department said the Government has already spent more than £2billion to support the move to zero-emission vehicles.

Jesse Norman, transport minister and MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, said the announcement would be welcomed by EV drivers.

He said: “The Government is giving local authorities across England additional help today to energise their chargepoint roll-out plans.

“Today’s commitment will lead to thousands of new chargers being installed, and plans for tens of thousands extra in due course, so that more people than ever can make the transition to using EVs.”

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Fewer than 9,000 public EV charging devices were installed in the UK last year, leading to claims that the infrastructure is not keeping up with demand.

The UK Government is pushing ahead with its plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from the end of this decade. 

Between 2030 and 2035, new cars and vans can be sold if they have the capability to drive a significant distance with zero emissions.

Petrol, diesel and hybrid HGVs over 26 tonnes could be banned from 2040, subject to a Government consultation.

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Sue Davies, Which? Head of Consumer Protection Policy, commented on the new funding, adding that it was vital for further investment to be made.

She said: “Our research shows that the public EV charging infrastructure is falling short with people unable to rely on adequate charging points close to their homes or to get them through a long journey, so the Government announcing thousands of new charge points is a step in the right direction.

“However, the Government must also move quickly to implement its plans to improve the driver experience of using the public charging networks by extending reliability standards across the full network and ensuring proposals for payment roaming make paying to charge much simpler.

“Charging needs to be easy, reliable and seamless to support people making the move to an electric vehicle.”

Industry players are urging policymakers to underline their support for the switch to electric vehicles by decoupling the wholesale price of electricity from gas. 

It is hoped that this change would immediately reduce the cost of charging electric vehicles, which has often been a sticking point for drivers.

Many are also calling on the Government to slash the rate of VAT on public EV charging points.

Currently, public charges attract a VAT rate of 20 percent, with experts wanting this to be reduced to five percent to match the rate levied on domestic electricity.

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