Report: UK needs to install chargers 5 times faster

A study by think-tank Policy Exchange has suggested that the UK needs to install public chargepoints at five times the current rate.

The report, called Charging Up, claims that the cost of installing could be £5bn to £10bn by 2030 – around 25% to 50% of the construction budget for Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

The think-tank claimed that “without government intervention, there is a risk that the UK will not develop a comprehensive network of EV chargepoints”.

Therefore, in areas that are underserved, the Government should procure chargepoints through regular tenders that offer long-term contracts for EV chargepoints, based on the Government’s successful auctions for offshore wind farms, it said.

Currently, the UK installs around 35,000 public charge points each year. By 2030, the UK will need 400,000 points, including 6,000 rapid chargers. As a result, there is a risk too few chargers could be installed in rural areas and issues with installing chargers at key locations, such as motorway service areas, which put the number available by the end of the decade at risk.

Additionally, the think-tank said the current programme of grants is unlikely to deliver the required installations as it doesn’t provide chargepoint operators with certainty over their annual revenue – a barrier to investment in chargepoints.

For high-powered chargepoints, the Government is expected to release the details of the Rapid Charging Fund later in 2021.

In areas that are underserved, the Government should procure charge points through tenders that offer long-term contracts. To deliver a comprehensive network of EV charge points, the Government
should replace existing grant schemes with long-term contracts for CPOs, procured through regular, competitive tenders.

Speaking in a foreword to the report, Simon Clarke MP – an early advocate of net-zero policy and former minister for growth – said: “This important report sets out a way to meet the challenge. It calls on the Government to target investment in public EV chargepoints in areas like my constituency, which are underserved. It proposes a system that ensures a driver in the most rural parts of our four nations will have the same confidence as one driving across London.

“Importantly, it includes incentives for chargepoint operators to maintain their chargers, ensuring a high-quality network as well as a comprehensive one. The report also keeps an important factor front and centre: cost. After
the ravages of the coronavirus, Britain must spend money more wisely
than ever before.

“The authors’ recommendations would mobilise the
private sector, bringing innovation and cost savings along the way. In
their proposed system of competitive procurement, they take lessons
from the UK’s successful support for offshore wind, in which costs have
plummeted while the technology has become more efficient and (literally)
reached new heights. These are approaches that will help to cut the costs
of the transition to Net Zero.”

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