Energy sector responds to Government’s EV Infrastructure Strategy

Leading professionals from across the energy sector have given their reaction to the Government’s £1.6 billion Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy which includes plans to support the UK market to reach 300,000 public EV charge points by 2030. 

A £450 million Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure [LEVI] Fund will see local authorities able to bid for funding to help accelerate the rollout of EV hubs and on-street charging whilst the existing £950m Rapid Charging Fund will support the rollout of at least 6,000 high powered super-fast chargepoints across England’s motorways by 2035.

Graeme Cooper, Head of Future Markets at National Grid, said: “Getting the right charging infrastructure in place is one of the essential steps that will encourage consumers and businesses to move to electric vehicles; research shows that once people feel confident there’s a viable network of charging points in places they need them, they’ll be encouraged to make the switch. The Department for Transport EV infrastructure strategy can provide this confidence and certainty, and enable government, industry and networks to shift from planning the EV transition to rapid action and delivery.

“The ambitions of Project Rapid are clear. We now need to see action that makes best use of the available funding, and collaboration between transport and energy networks to deliver the most efficient network solution. And we can’t just focus on cars and vans. There needs to be a holistic approach across the whole transport system, and we need to see a plan in place for the deployment of charging infrastructure that will support the decarbonisation across road, rail aviation and maritime as well. 

“Both distribution and transmission network operators have a critical role to play in this transition, and we’ll be working closely with government, industry and regional networks to map out where critical grid capacity is needed. National Grid is ready to play its role in putting the right wires in the right place to futureproof the network for all road transport.”

Ian Cameron, Head of Customer Service and Innovation at UK Power Networks, commented: “The clarity and tangibility of the Government’s EV infrastructure strategy is welcomed. We acknowledge networks have a key role in enabling the net zero transition as increasing numbers of EVs, heat pumps and renewables are connecting. Now more than ever enabling the transition at the lowest cost, whilst leaving nobody is left behind is at the front of our mind.

“Our customers rightly expect us to do everything we can to make the switch to electric cars as affordable as possible. We’re thinking outside the box and re-imagining traditional ways of working, to make it happen. Our objective is to facilitate the transition to Net Zero for our customers, we understand we cannot do this alone, so we will continue to be open and collaborate to deliver the best outcomes for our customers.”

Last year Transport + Energy caught up with the company’s Director of Customer Service, Strategy, Regulation and Information Systems – Suleman Alli – to find out why and how the network operator has been developing and building markets to build confidence in EVs.   

Alongside the EV Infrastructure Strategy, the Government has launched an automotive roadmap outlining joint government and industry commitments to achieve the decarbonisation of road transport.

This is the first in a series of roadmaps that will be published over the course of the year for each sector of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan, showcasing how the UK is delivering on its green commitments.

The roadmap brings together the government’s policies designed to help and support the automotive sector in the shift towards greener transport and will help businesses plan more effectively in the transition to a zero-emission future.

Western Power Distribution’s System Development Manager Paul Jewell said: “We understand that the ease and accessibility of charging is integral to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles. This is why WPD is already investing to ensure that we create the network capacity to support a charge at a time and place that is convenient to drivers of electric vehicles.

“The £950m investment signalled for upgrading electricity connections at motorway services is key component to putting in place a comprehensive network of chargers that consumers can access. To deliver this, innovation is also required and our Take Charge programme is set to deliver the electricity capacity of a small town to the Moto service station in Exeter later this spring. Such technology will help to deliver on the Government’s ambition for all motorway service stations to have six high-powered charge points by 2023.

“The continued funding support for home charging until 2024/25 is also key in supporting consumers to make the switch to EVs, although it would be wise to keep a watching brief on this with the possible need to extend further in order to continue to support the momentum in switching to EVs. Across our network we are now able to guarantee connection to the network within 48 hours, making the transition seamless for new EV owners.

“But still we face challenges in rapidly scaling up the delivery of EV chargers on public roads and in town centres where users need them most. Just as the Government is seemingly set to fast track the delivery of renewables to speed up the transition, so too must it look at how EV charging plans across local authorities come with a presumption in favour of development and future proofing.”    

You can read further industry reaction here.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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