Ultra rapid charger pic from CD 185 (Hyundai)Ultra rapid charger pic from CD 185 (Hyundai)

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Government falls well short of rapid charger target as experts call for EV network improvements

  • Government falls ‘well short’ of electric car charger target
  • Department for Transport wanted at least six high-powered chargers at all motorway service areas in England by the end of 2023
  • Less than half of all sites are currently meeting goal with four still having no chargers whatsoever
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Time 9:19 am, January 2, 2024

The government has fallen well short of its ambitious targets for electric car chargers on motorways, new data has revealed.

Last year, the Department for Transport (DfT) set itself the goal of having a minimum of six rapid or ultra-rapid chargers at every motorway service area in England by the end of 2023.

However, as 2024 gets underway, fresh RAC analysis of Zapmap data, has revealed that just 46 out of 119 sites are currently meeting that target.


Despite equating to just 39 per cent of the stated goal, the figure is at least up on April’s data, when only 23 per cent of sites had six rapid or ultra rapid chargers.

Four locations – Leicester Forest on both sides of the M1, Tebay South on the M6 and Barton Park on the A1(M) – still have no charging facilities whatsoever.

A DfT document from March 2022 stated that ‘many operators’ of motorway services had ’embraced the ambition’ to install six high-powered chargers by the end of 2023, with ‘over 70 per cent’ of locations having a plan to deliver this.


It added: ‘We will continue to work with site operators to ensure that every site is reached.’

The document stated that a £950m rapid charging fund would support the rollout of these chargepoints across England’s motorways and major A roads.

The fund was set to be available for applications from spring 2023 but has not been opened.

A £70m pilot scheme for up to 10 motorway service areas and a consultation on the wider fund were launched in November last year.

Reacting to the latest findings, RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: ‘It is clear from our research that the government has fallen well short of its target of having six high-powered chargers at every motorway service area in England.

‘There is undoubtedly an eagerness among chargepoint companies and motorway service operators to install these types of units but unfortunately, it’s often the high-power cabling to the grid that’s the major barrier which is out of their hands.

‘More clearly needs to be done to make this process simpler than it is currently.

‘Hopefully once the government’s rapid charging fund kicks fully into action, some of these hurdles will be overcome.

‘We continue to believe that the wide availability of ultra-rapid charging is crucial in giving both current and future EV drivers confidence to know they can easily make journeys beyond the range of their vehicles in a time-efficient way.’


A DfT spokeswoman said: ‘The number of public chargepoints is surging across the country and around 96 per cent of motorway services now offer charging facilities for drivers.

‘As well as our £70m pilot to help roll out ultra-rapid chargepoints on motorways, we are driving forward the biggest reforms to our electricity grid since the 1950s – halving the time it takes to build networks, and speeding up connections.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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