The number of charging points for electric vehicles in the UK will increase to 300,000 by 2030.
As part of the government’s £1.6bn Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy, £500m will be spent on increasing the number of charging points in the UK. It will mean a tenfold increase on the current 30,000 public chargepoints available.
However, the plan has been criticised by motoring groups, with the RAC saying 300,000 will not be enough to match the demand as people move to electric vehicles ahead of the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.
Announcing the plan, the Department for Transport (DfT) said the existing Rapid Charging Fund of £950 million will be used to support the rollout of at least 6,000 high powered super-fast chargepoints across England’s motorways by 2035.
It said these chargers will be “world-class” with a required reliability rate of 99 per cent.
The DfT said it will ensure people can pay for electric car chargers using contactless payments and be able to use an app to find nearest charging points.
Responding to the plans, 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."
Transport secretary Grant Shapps added:â¯ “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.”
While the RAC’s head of policy Nicholas Lyes praised the government for recognising the need for contactless payment, he said its promise of 300,000 chargepoints will not be sufficient.
“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,” he said.
Chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) Gerry Keaney welcomed the funding, calling it a “major step forward”.
However, he said the EV Infrastructure Strategy left “gaps” such as charge point accessibility for commercial vehicles like HGVs.
Mr Keaney said: “This strategy is a major step forward that will give greater confidence to the millions of road users that need to make the switch to electric over the next decade. The recognition for the mix of different charging solutions is crucial. It is not simply about having more chargers, we need the right solutions, placed strategically to be accessible to all drivers.
“We know that government and officials are keen to learn about and support fleets with their infrastructure challenges. As a sector that buys and operates more than 50 per cent of EVs in the UK, we would like to see these priorities acknowledged, with more consideration given to appropriate support and interventions.
“The BVRLA’s Fleet Charging Guide was launched last month and highlights a number of the gaps left by the EV Infrastructure Strategy. We have particular concerns around charge point accessibility for commercial vehicles and believe that the government needs to start planning for HGV-compatible infrastructure as soon as possible.”
Additional reporting by PA