The Association of Convenience Stores has reiterated its call for the government to incentivise rather than compel forecourt operators to provide electric vehicle charging points on their sites.

The Road to Zero, published on July 9 by the Department for Transport, sets out the Government’s plans to see at least half of new cars be ultra low emission vehicles by 2030, including more details of the charging infrastructure that would be required to make this happen.

One of the measures set out in the Strategy refers to charge points being made available at motorway service areas and ‘large fuel retailers’ (as drafted in clause 10 of the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill). ACS has expressed repeated concerns about the lack of clarity over how the Government intends to define a large fuel retailer.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “There are potentially thousands of petrol forecourts in the UK that could come under the Government’s definition of large fuel retailer, many of which will not have the facilities in place in store, or the space on their forecourt, to be able to meet the needs of customers that need to stay for prolonged periods of time.

“Instead of focusing on an arbitrary definition of large fuel retailers, the Government should incentivise electric vehicle charging infrastructure at strategic points across the road network to ensure sufficient coverage. The £400m investment fund included in the Road to Zero should be accessible for forecourt operators wanting to include these facilities at their sites.”

Other measures set out in the strategy include:

• ensuring that new homes have a charge point available where appropriate;

• including charge points on all new street lighting columns in areas with current on-street parking provision;

• launching an Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce to bring together the energy and automotive industries, in order to plan for future electric vehicle uptake and ensure the energy system can meet future demand; and

• launching a £400m Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund to help accelerate charging infrastructure deployment.

One of the concerns that ACS set out in its submission to the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill was around the pace of change of electric charging technology. The Road to Zero strategy acknowledges that “as the number of EVs increases, more dynamic, convenient and faster charging technologies will enter the market” but states that it is “essential to continue support for the installation of the existing technologies now to grow the early market”.