New EV charging grouping aims to double UK network in 2023

A parking bay reserved for electric car charging can be seen on display in London

By Nick Carey

LONDON (Reuters) - An industry group of nearly 20 electric vehicle (EV) charger companies said they aim to double the size of Britain's charging network this year with tens of thousands of new chargers, as the government tries to wean people off combustion engines.

ChargeUK's members have cumulatively announced plans to invest more than 6 billion pounds ($7.5 billion) installing and operating new EV charging infrastructure by 2030.

Carmakers say that in return for the hundreds of billions of dollars they are spending on electrification, countries like Britain and the European Union should focus on building out infrastructure to encourage more people to buy EVs and give them the confidence they can find somewhere affordable to recharge.

"The formation of ChargeUK... is a demonstration of the EV charging industry's growing size and importance to the UK economy," Ian Johnston, chair of ChargeUK and CEO of rapid-charging company Osprey Charging Network said in a statement.

"We will continue to be a proactive partner to Government as we deliver a world-class charging infrastructure, giving the nation's drivers confidence to transition to EVs," he added.

The new group announced on Friday includes ChargePoint, one of the world's largest EV charging networks, and the EV charging units of Shell and BP.

Other members of ChargeUK include Ionity, which is backed by Volkswagen, BMW and Ford, and British charging company Pod Point.

European and U.S. cities planning to phase out combustion engines over the next decade or so first need to plug a huge charging gap for tens of millions of residents.

Government figures show that around 40% of Britain's 33 million cars park on the street, while around 40% of Americans do not live in single-family homes with garages which means they need access to public chargers.

($1 = 0.8037 pounds)

(Reporting by Nick Carey; Editing by Alexander Smith)