UK government pledges increase in number of electric vehicle chargers by 2030.
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The new target comes after criticism that infrastructure deployment has failed to keep up with soaring car sales.
The UK government has set a new target to increase more than 10-fold the number of electric vehicle chargers to 300,000 by 2030, following criticism that public infrastructure is being deployed too slowly to keep up with rapid sales growth.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that it will invest a further £450m alongside substantial private capital. From 2030, the sale of new cars and vans with petrol and diesel engines will be banned.
According to comparison site Next Green Car, there were 420,000 pure electric vehicles on UK roads at the end of February. However, as of March 1, there were only 29,600 public charging stations in the UK, according to data firm Zap-Map.
The DfT said the £450m local electric vehicle infrastructure fund would focus on on-road charging points and chargers.
BP has also confirmed it will invest £1bn in new charging infrastructure in the UK as part of its revenue diversification plan. The company relies heavily on fossil fuels for its profits and faces pressure from investors and activists to show how it can achieve net-zero carbon emissions.
UK government Prime Minister Boris Johnson has linked the switch to electric vehicles with a desire to reduce reliance on foreign fossil fuels. Fuel prices hit record highs as the world relies on its oil and gas exports, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is expected to trigger another cost-of-living crisis.
UK government to increase number of electric vehicle chargers by 2030. Boris Johnson explains why.
“Clean transport is not only better for the environment, it is a way to reduce our dependence on external energy supplies,” the Prime Minister said.
The auto industry has been complaining that the government isn’t doing enough to provide chargers, meaning many customers are reluctant to buy an electric car for fear of not being able to find a charger when they need one.
Electric vehicle sales accounted for 18 percent of new registrations in February, according to lobby group the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
London and the South East of England have easier access to public chargers than poorer parts of the UK, although many Electric Vehicle owners are likely to rely on private chargers at home.
Auto industry bosses are relieved by the government’s commitment, which builds on an earlier planned £950m investment in fast chargers. But SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said he wanted a binding target for the launch of the charger investment.
“The charging infrastructure needs to keep up with the rapid growth in sales of these vehicles,” he said. “Deployed rapidly across the country, this expansion will give drivers peace of mind because charging anywhere is as easy as refueling.”
Automobile Association president Edmund King said: “While great progress has been made, there is still a lot of work to be done to convince drivers of the numbers and, more importantly, the reliability of charging stations.”
Urgent action is also needed to address charger availability, which may require separate accounts, and more needs to be done in rural areas to make isolated charging stations feel safer, he said. Access for disabled drivers is also an issue, he said.
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