The government is to contribute £70 million to the cost of installing rapid electric vehicle (EV) charge points at 10 motorway service stations in England as part of a trial to boost the transition to greener transport.
The move was announced by Transport Secretary Mark Harper this week at the UN climate conference, known as COP28, in Dubai.
The government says the initiative, which is part of its Rapid Charging Fund (RCF), will cover part of the costs of upgrading the electricity grid at the service stations and ensure “electricity network capacity is future-proofed for at least 10 years”.
Roads agency National Highways will manage the project, which the government maintains will provide evidence for further investment decisions under the RCF.
“This £70 million pilot scheme is the starting point and sends a message to consumers and industry that we are investing wisely and rapidly to grow the future of transport in the UK,” says Harper.
The government has also this week launched an RCF consultation seeking views from charge point operators, motorway service area companies, and electricity suppliers on where chargers are needed most.
It has also launched a 10-week RCF consultation seeking views from a range of stakeholders, including charge point operators, motorway service area operators and electricity suppliers, on where chargers are needed most and how best to design the scheme.
That move has been hailed positively by Tom Hurst, UK country manager of electric charging point provider Fastned. ”After much anticipation, we welcome that the government is progressing with the RCF and considering industry opinion,” he says.
Earlier this week, the House of Commons agreed the percentage of new zero emission cars and vans that UK manufacturers will be required to produce each year up to 2030. It follows the government decision to delay a ban on new petrol cars from 2030 to 2035.
Despite a 17% slump in sales of battery electric vehicles in November, sales of electric cars overall are continuing to grow, according to data published this week by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Registrations of hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles rose in November by almost 28% and almost 56% respectively compared with the year before. Sales of all categories of electric vehicles are up year to date. However, business and fleet customers are driving the increase rather than private buyers.