A newly announced upgrade to the UK’s EV charging network as part of a £300m cash injection for low-carbon projects has been welcomed within the automotive industry.
Ofgem – the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets – said part of the money will help pay for cables needed for 1,800 new ultra-rapid charging points at motorway services, which will make the current network three times larger.
More than 200 low-carbon projects will benefit from the cash injection over the next two years to help the country prepare for more electric transport.
Another 1,750 charging points will be installed in towns and cities.
The upgrade will be directed by the government’s energy regulator with investment coming from the Energy Networks Association, which represents the UK and Ireland’s energy networks companies.
Ofgem said it reflected the fact that cables, substations and other infrastructure had to have ‘a massive upgrade’ if they were to cope with an expanded surge in demand.
Chief executive Jonathan Brearley said: ‘The payment will support the rapid take-up of electric vehicles, which will be vital if Britain is to hit its climate change targets.
‘Drivers need to be confident that they can charge their car quickly when they need to.’
Sepi Arani, director of OEM at Carwow, said: ‘We’re pleased to hear that Ofgem will be investing around £300m into the EV charging infrastructure here in the UK.
‘This is a much-needed boost. Manufacturers have already invested billions to increase consumer choice by as much as 91 per cent since before the pandemic, while utility companies are also delivering new public chargers on a daily basis.
‘On average, 4,000 electric vehicles are configured every day by car buyers on carwow, showing huge volumes of buyers just itching to press the button on an EV.’
But he added: ‘Although this pledge will go a long way to reduce range anxiety for those looking to make the switch to EV, for the majority of buyers it won’t actually make electric vehicles any cheaper, which is one of the main barriers to purchasing.
‘It’s important to address the fact that as a country we’re underprepared for the switch to EV, but this investment will help us take steps towards becoming ready.’
John Wilmot, chief executive of car leasing comparison website LeaseLoco, added: ‘This announcement by Ofgem is exactly what is needed if the green motoring revolution is to stay on track.
‘Consumers are committed to greener motoring, and that was confirmed in a recent survey we carried out of UK car owners.
‘Almost a third said they would consider buying electric as their next car but had concerns about the capability of the charging infrastructure.
‘At the end of the day, car owners will be reluctant to trade in their diesel and petrol motors for electric if they feel that charging their cars will become an inconvenience.
‘If they are going to be persuaded to early-switch to electric now, investment in the charging infrastructure has to be the top priority.’