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Electric Vehicle charger for “UK launch” may never be made.


Electric Vehicle charger designed for “UK launch” may never be made. Subscribe to Electric Vehicle News Bitesize Podcast for FREE!

The winner of the state tender was announced on Cop26 as the one who “stands the test of time”.

It should be juxtaposed with red telephone boxes, London buses and black cabs as symbols of modern Britain. However, the so-called iconic design of the UK’s electric car charger, commissioned by then Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, may remain on the drawing board after the government admitted it may never be manufactured.

The government announced the tender for the contract in June last year, and the winning design by the Royal College of Art and PA Consulting was revealed a few months later at the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow.

Shapps, who is now business secretary, said the bollard-like design, which featured the royal coat of arms and a round, light-up handle, would be “rolled out across the country”, would “stand the test of time” and be “as iconic and recognisable as the British phone box, London bus or black cab”.

The red phone booths designed by Giles Gilbert Scott are now almost unusable, although they still appear on some UK streets and the community has repurposed them to house miniature libraries or defibrillators. Updated versions of London’s red buses and black London cabs are still being built, even as their makers struggle to make a profit.

However, the Department for Transport has now admitted that the charger cannot be installed on UK roads. Last month, it admitted “the concept is not intended for manufacture or use” in response to a freedom of information request from Tom Riley, who wrote the Fast Charging Cars newsletter.

The government added that the project “helped raise awareness and generate excitement of the UK’s electric vehicle programme”. The tender had a budget of £200,000, but the winners provided the design at zero cost, a government spokesperson said.

Ministers are under pressure to improve the UK’s charging infrastructure to meet fast-growing demand, especially in cities where residents often do not have their own driveways. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, a lobby group, warned on Friday that the government was unlikely to meet its target of 300,000 public chargers in the UK by 2030.

Riley said: “The government should not be pulling the plug on projects that would make the UK’s charging network more accessible. As many people start getting into an electric car, having easy to use chargers is going to be hugely important.”

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