UK energy regulator Ofgem has announced a £300 million investment that will see 3,550 new charging points added to the UK’s electric vehicle network.
Of these, 1,800 will be ultra-rapid chargers. They will be installed at motorway service areas, according to Ofgem, tripling the size of the current network.
A further 1,750 charge points will be installed in towns and cities, such as at railway stations, with the entire programme delivered within the next two years.
The investment is part of a £40 billion programme to improve Britain’s energy network, that was approved in 2020. The funding will pay for the cables, substations and electric infrastructure that will be needed to support the charge points.
The UK’s charging network has been mushrooming in recent times – currently there are close to 24,000 chargers installed across the country, more than double those available three years ago.
But evidence suggests that ‘range anxiety’ fuelled by concerns over the availability of recharging points is still preventing a mass switchover to EVs. Ofgem’s own research revealed that 36% of those households not intending to buy an electric car were put off by the lack of charging facilities near their home.
Recent figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) stated that while increasing electric take-up now accounts for one in ten of new car sales, it is being driven by fleets – less than 5% of new EV sales are to private buyers.
The SMMT claims that if the Government is to meet its declared aim of banning sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, some 2.7 million charging points will be needed.
Recently a commission in Northern Ireland was told drivers who have bought electric are reverting to petrol and diesel due to the lack of a viable charging network in the country. And Ford’s UK boss Lisa Brankin told the BBC that drivers remain very sceptical about switching to electric.
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