The UK government has set a new target of increasing the number of electric car chargers tenfold to 300,000 by 2030 after strong criticism that public infrastructure rollout is too slow to match rapid growth Sales.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has said it will invest an additional £450 million to do this, along with significant amounts of private capital. Sales of new cars and vans with petrol and diesel engines will be banned from 2030.
There were 420,000 purely electric cars on UK roads at the end of February, according to comparison site Next Green Car. There were, however, only 29,600 public charging stations in the UK as of March 1, according to data firm Zap-Map.
The £450m local electric vehicle infrastructure fund would focus on charger hubs and street chargers, the DfT said.
BP has also confirmed it will spend £1bn on new charger infrastructure in the UK as part of its revenue diversification plans. The company relies heavily on fossil fuels for its profits and is under pressure from investors and activists to show how it will achieve net zero carbon emissions.
Boris Johnson has linked the switch to electric cars with a desire to reduce reliance on foreign fossil fuel supplies. Fuel prices have reached record highs with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine set to further aggravate the cost of living crisis due to the world’s dependence on its oil and gas exports.
“Clean transport is not only better for the environment, but it is another way to reduce our dependence on external energy supplies,” said the Prime Minister.
The auto industry has consistently complained that the government is not doing enough to provide chargers, meaning many customers hold back from buying battery electric cars for fear of not being able to charge.
Electric car sales accounted for 18% of new car registrations in February, according to the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a lobby group.
London and the South East of England have better access to public chargers than poorer parts of the UK, although many electric car owners are likely to rely on private chargers in their homes.
Auto industry bosses responded with relief to the government’s pledge, which added to previous plans to invest £950m in fast chargers. However, Mike Hawes, chief executive of SMMT, said he wanted binding targets for the deployment of the Charger.
“Charging infrastructure needs to keep pace with the rapid growth in sales of these cars,” he said. “Rolled out nationally and at pace, this expansion would give drivers confidence that they can recharge as easily as they can refuel, wherever they are.”
Edmund King, the AA’s chairman, said: “While great progress has been made, much more needs to be done to convince drivers of the number and, above all, the reliability of charging stations.”
He said urgent action was also needed to address usability issues with chargers, which may require separate accounts, and that more work was needed in rural areas to make isolated charging stations safer. . Access for disabled drivers was also an issue, he said.