Government’s £620m EV charging pledge is nowhere near enough, says car leasing boss

  • Vanarama CEO Andy Alderson says surge in EV demand is outpacing rollout of public charging points
  • Ministers are urged to speed up investment or risk stalling the switch from fossil fuels
  • Huge growth in popularity of EVs is seen as tipping point

Time 1 month ago

The boss of online car leasing business Vanarama has slammed the government’s £620m pledge for EV charging infrastructure as inadequate.

Earlier this week, the government published its Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener report on how it will meet its eco targets, including reaching net zero by 2050.

The 368-page document included a commitment to investing £620m in grants for electric vehicles and street charging points.

But now, Vanarama chief executive and founder Andy Alderson is warning that a massive increase in demand for EVs after the fuel crisis risked overwhelming capacity.

He said orders for electric cars had rocketed by 1,011 per cent so far this year and more than doubled since the fuel shortage began in September.

Vanarama processes some 55 pure-electric vehicle orders every day and said it expected to deliver more than 20,000 EVs in 2022.

But Alderson said the huge surge in consumer demand for EVs was far outpacing the rollout of public charging points, and that the £620m initiative was nowhere near enough.

Speaking ahead of the UN climate change conference Cop26, which is taking place in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12, Alderson warned that any failure by ministers to speed up investment risked stalling the switch from internal combustion engines.

That in turn would put at risk the 2030 deadline to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, which would fail motorists, the automotive industry and the environment.

‘The government needs to act and act quickly if it is to remain on course for its net zero targets.

‘We are seeing massive demand for electric vehicles and that demand is growing all the time.

‘But if nothing is done to improve the availability of public charge points, we risk losing the momentum.

‘Every car manufacturer has accelerated plans for electric vehicles and it’s imperative that the government follows suit.’

There are currently 24,000 public chargers, and a report published earlier this week by independent transport research organisation New AutoMotive predicted the UK will need between 230,000 and 280,000 by 2035 to meet demand.

The report estimates that 40 to 50 charging points need to be installed across the country every day to keep pace with current demand.

Fifty per cent of all car orders made through Vanarama are now for fully electric vehicles – a figure that rises to 62 per cent when hybrids are included.

Alderson said: ‘We’ve been seeing electric vehicles grow in popularity for quite a few years now, but the pace of change since the pandemic and particularly since the fuel crisis has been off the charts.

‘It’s hard to see this as anything other than the tipping point where motorists turn their backs on petrol and diesel and move to the lower running costs and zero tailpipe emissions of EVs.

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‘The vast majority of EVs on the market today are more than capable of meeting the needs of the average driver but the public charging infrastructure needs massive investment.’

Despite its name, Vanarama now leases more cars than vans.

Car Dealer founder James Baggott visited its head office in Hemel Hempstead and met Alderson for an exclusive tour and interview last November. You can watch the interview at the top of this story.

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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