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RAC review suggests UK government misses target for EV charging infrastructure

3 January 2024

EV Charging Infrastructure

UK motorway service stations miss 2023 target

Back in November 2020, the government published the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution. One of the key proposals was to shift towards Electric Vehicles (EVs), with the sale of diesel and petrol cars initially scheduled to be banned from 2030 alongside all new vehicles to be 100% zero emissions.

Although that date has now been pushed back to 2035, the shift to EVs still accelerates across the UK. Crucial for this is the need for a visible and dependable charging network to support drivers who have already made the switch and to ensure EV purchases continue and don’t slow down.

A recent analysis conducted by the RAC has highlighted there is a lack of high-powered EV charging points across motorways in England. The government’s desire was for every motorway service station in England to have at the very least six rapid or ultra-rapid chargers by the end of 2023.

The data from the RAC’s analysis suggested only 4 in 10 currently meet this criteria. The reason rapid and ultra-rapid EV chargers are so important is that they’re crucial for EV drivers making longer journeys. That’s why on the 6th of December 2023, the Rapid Charging Fund (RCF) opened for applications.

What is the RCF?

The rapid charging fund (RCF) will enable the development of a comprehensive ultra-rapid charging network by funding prohibitively expensive grid connections. The pilot is open to motorway service area operators in England only.

What are the RCF’s objectives?

The two main objectives of the fund are:

  • To enable the market to provide charging infrastructure at strategic locations to support the government’s vision of the transition to a 100% electric car and van fleet.
  • Address charge anxiety by providing grant funding that will future-proof grid capacity where it is not commercially viable, leading to a greater provision of ultra-rapid charge points.

For more details about the RCF, visit Rapid charging fund - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The pilot scheme has been introduced to ensure that drivers can confidently make the switch to an EV, as demand continues to grow. Along with major car manufacturers pledging to be fully electric in the coming years, the need for robust and expansive charging infrastructure becomes paramount.

This initiative is set to transform the charging landscape, addressing one of the key challenges hindering mass EV adoption—the time it takes to charge a vehicle. Rapid chargers can significantly reduce charging times, offering a viable solution for those on the go. The funds allocated will not only accelerate the deployment of these high-speed chargers but also ensure their strategic placement along major routes, in urban areas, and at key destinations.

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