Expanding on-street parking is a major aim of the strategy

The UK government has committed £1.6bn to expand the EV charging network to reach 300,000 public electric chargepoints by 2030.

The commitment is in its Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy, which it claims will make charging easier and cheaper than refuelling a petrol or diesel car, while new legal requirements on operators will mean drivers will be able to pay by contactless, compare charging prices and find nearby chargepoints via apps.

The new strategy sets out the government’s aim to expand the UK’s charging network, so that it is robust, fair and covers the entire country – as well as improving the consumer experience at chargepoints, with significant support focused on those without access to off-street parking, and on fast charging for longer journeys.

It states that £500m will be invested to bring competitively priced public chargepoints to communities across the UK. This includes a £450mn Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) fund, which will boost projects such as EV hubs and on-street charging, so those without driveways don’t miss out.

A pilot scheme for the LEVI fund launching today will see local authorities bid for a share of £10m in funding, allowing selected areas to work with industry and boost public charging opportunities.

The LEVI funding includes up to £50m to fund staff to work on local challenges and public chargepoint planning – ensuring that any development complements all other zero emission forms of travel, such as walking and cycling.

The existing £950m Rapid Charging Fund will support the roll out of at least 6,000 high-powered super-fast chargepoints across England’s motorways by 2035.

This is in addition to commitments by chargepoint operators to install an additional 15,000 rapid chargepoints across England’s road network – a quadrupling of the current offer – and more than 100,000 on-street chargepoints by 2025.

Prime minister 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.”

New standards and legislation are also being introduced to improve the user’s experience of using public chargepoints.

The government is mandating that operators provide real-time data about chargepoints. It is ensuring that consumers can compare prices and pay for charging using contactless cards. They will also be able to use apps to find their nearest available chargepoint.

The plans will also require a 99% reliability rate at rapid chargepoints to give consumers confidence in finding chargepoints that work wherever they travel.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “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.”

Alongside the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy, the government is launching an automotive roadmap outlining joint government and industry commitments to achieve the decarbonisation of road transport.

This is the first in a series of roadmaps that will be published over the course of the year for each sector of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan, intended to show whether the UK is delivering on its green commitments.

The roadmap brings together the government’s policies designed to help and support the automotive sector in the shift towards greener transport and is intended to help businesses plan more effectively in the transition to a zero-emission future.

Toddington Harper, CEO of Electric Forecourt developer Gridserve, said: “This decade is critical for the UK’s electric vehicle transition. With the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles quickly emerging, we must ensure that we have the charging infrastructure in place to support current and future electric vehicle drivers. In addition to our world leading Electric Forecourts, Gridserve are currently delivering the biggest upgrade to the motorway charging infrastructure in UK history, ensuring the UK’s motorway charging infrastructure is ready for the mass adoption of electric vehicles.

“We welcome the government’s commitments to expanding the UK’s charging network, and it’s crucial these commitments are met with action. The race is now on for the industry to accelerate the deployment of chargers across the country, giving drivers in all corners of the UK access to dependable charging, and in turn, complete confidence to make the switch to electric vehicles.”

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), commented: “Government has rightly recognised that Britain’s electric mobility revolution must put the needs of the consumer at the heart of the transition. Consumers already have certainty about the vehicles, with ever-increasing choice, thanks to billions of pounds of manufacturer investment, but charging infrastructure must keep pace with the rapid growth of sales of these cars.

“The EV infrastructure strategy points in the right direction, addressing problems with the current customer charging experience and setting out a nationally co-ordinated, locally delivered plan which aims to ‘build ahead of need’. The UK already has an enviable and ever-growing rapid charging network, so focus must be given to expanding public on-street and destination charging provision.

“Every stakeholder will have to play their part in this transition but, if industry and consumers are to have the certainty they need to invest, commensurate and binding targets must be set for infrastructure provision. Deployed nationally and at pace, this expansion would give drivers confidence they will be able to charge as easily as they would refuel, wherever they are.”

Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of on-street EV charging provider Connected Kerb, said: “The government’s announcement today sends a clear signal that the roll out of EV charging needs to increase in scale and urgency. Now, the work is on for the industry to ramp up the deployment of chargers in towns, villages, cities and across motorway networks, to ensure that no one gets left behind in the EV transition and that all drivers are supported with convenient, reliable and affordable charging solutions.”

“For on-street charging, councils are in a unique position to facilitate the mass rollout of EV chargers to support their residents without access to off-street parking. By partnering with independent charge point operators, councils can unlock the private investment needed to accelerate the deployment of chargers at the scale required to meet the UK’s charging needs.”

Edward Sargent, business development director at Pivot Power, a provider of high power EV infrastructure, commented: “Low- or zero-carbon transportation must be attractive and accessible for all road users, and we welcome the government’s focus on fast charging and support for the much-needed EV hubs. Decarbonising transport remains an obstacles to achieving net zero, and there is no time to wait. We are really pleased to be working with Oxford City Council to deliver Europe’s most powerful EV charging hub, and have plans to build more across the UK as quickly as we can. I hope that today’s announcement can act as the gear change we need to cut emissions and accelerate towards a greener future.”