Ministers ‘asleep at the wheel’ on installing electric car charging devices

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

Department for Transport (DfT) figures published on Wednesday revealed the number of devices available for use increased by just 8,680 from 28,375 in January 2021 to 37,055 this month.

That represents a 31% rise.

Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh
Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh claimed the Government is ‘asleep at the wheel’ (House of Commons/PA)

Separate data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed 22.9% of all new cars registered last year were plug-in vehicles – which includes pure electrics and plug-in hybrids – up from 10.7% in 2020 and 18.6% in 2021.

Sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in the UK will be banned from 2030.

Labour said the current rate of charge point installation suggests the Government is on course to miss its target of having 300,000 public charging points at that time, by more than 20 years.

Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said: “There is no time to lose on charging infrastructure, but the Conservatives are asleep at the wheel.

“Never-ending chaos in the Conservative Government has delayed key projects and risks stalling the switch to electric vehicles, leaving our world-class car industry in limbo.

“Labour will help drive the electric vehicle transition, helping those on low to middle incomes with the upfront costs, and we will accelerate the rollout of charging points to make it easier to own an electric car wherever you live.”

Motoring group the AA called for the introduction of interim targets.

Head of roads policy Jack Cousens said: “New EVs (electric vehicles) are flying off the factory floor, but we desperately need charge point installations to keep pace with an ever-growing demand.

“With a target of 300,000 publicly available charge points by 2030 and just 37,055 installations in place, more focus is needed to accelerate the nation’s charging infrastructure.

“We urge the Government to set marker post targets in place so drivers can see progress is being made while giving those nervous to switch the confidence to do so.”

A DfT spokesperson said: “We want to maximise the opportunities available for motorists to switch to electric vehicles and have spent more than £2 billion to accelerate the transition.

“Alongside industry, we have supported the installation of over 37,000 publicly available charge points and expect this to expand tenfold by the end of the decade”