The party warned of a “gulf emerging” between those who can access the benefits of a move towards electric vehicles, and those for whom the technology will not be available - both because of lack of charging points, and due to the upfront price of vehicles.
According to the Climate Change Committee, there need to be around 150,000 public charge points operating in our country by 2025 and these should be “widely available across the UK”.
However, the rate of the roll out is far behind schedule, with just 22,790 public charging points available around the country – meaning more than 127,000 must be installed in just the next four years.
Ed Miliband, Labour’s shadow business secretary, said the party supported the government’s target to take new petrol and diesel vehicles off the road by the end of the decade, but needed to do more to reach that goal.
He said: “It’s right to be setting 2030 as the phase-out date for new petrol and diesel cars but government is just not providing the support, strategy and leadership to make this transition the boost for jobs it should be and fair for consumers.
“As we saw with the Climate Change Committee’s devastating report last week, this is yet another example where government rhetoric is simply not matched by action and delivery.”
The government also faced criticism for cutting subsidies for zero emission vehicles, a move which Labour said risks creating a “two-tier transport Britain” and pricing some families out of car ownership.
They said a Labour government would treat the roll-out of charging points as a national infrastructure project, led by central government and working with local authorities.
Mr Miliband said: “The government’s failure to roll out charging points across the country and the decision to cut the plug-in grant risks baking in unfairness in our country as we move towards a zero emission future.
“For the minicab driver who relies on their car for work and is thinking the price of an electric car is simply out of their reach. For the commuter who relies on their car but is also worried about being priced out. For those in rural areas, the Midlands and the North where you may not be able to access a charging point.
“Government needs to step up and support new gigafactories, provide the means for consumers on lower and middle-incomes to afford electric vehicles and ensure the charging points are there throughout our country.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson told The Independent: “The UK has over 23,800 public charging points including 4,450 rapid devices, one of the largest networks of rapids in Europe.
“We are working closely with local authorities to roll out the electric vehicle revolution, with £1.3bn investment for electric vehicle infrastructure which will support drivers across the country.”