THE Government has unveiled plans to support the UK market to reach 300,000 public Electric Vehicle (EV) chargepoints by 2030 – equivalent to almost five times the number of fuel pumps on our roads today.    

Backed by £1.6bn under the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy, charging will become easier and cheaper than refuelling a petrol or diesel car, says the Department for Transport. New legal requirements on operators will mean that drivers of electric vehicles will be able to pay by contactless, compare charging prices and find nearby chargepoints via apps.

The new strategy sets out the Government’s aim to expand the UK’s charging network and to improve the consumer experience at all chargepoints, with significant support focussed on those without access to off-street parking.

£500 million will be invested to bring high quality, competitively priced public chargepoints to communities across the UK. This includes a £450 million Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure [LEVI] Fund which will boost projects such as EV hubs and innovative on-street charging, so those without driveways don’t miss out on cleaner transport.

A pilot scheme for the LEVI fund that launched last week will see local authorities bid for a share of £10 million in funding, allowing selected areas to work with industry and boost public charging opportunities.

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.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:  “We’re powering ahead with plans to help British people go electric, with our expanding charging network making journeys easier right across the country.

“Clean transport isn’t just better for the environment, but is another way we can drive down our dependence on external energy supplies. It will also create new high-skilled jobs for our automotive and energy sectors and ultimately secure more sustainable and affordable motoring for all.”

Drivers are at the heart of the revolutionary plan, with rigorous new standards and legislation being introduced to improve people’s experience of using public chargepoints.    

The Government is mandating that operators provide real-time data about chargepoints. It is ensuring that consumers can compare prices and seamlessly pay for their charging using contactless cards. They will also be able to use apps to find their nearest available chargepoint.  

These plans will also require a 99% reliability rate at rapid chargepoints, giving consumers confidence in finding chargepoints that work wherever they travel – helping eradicate so-called ‘range anxiety’.  

Even with recent trends in electricity prices, EVs still benefit from lower fuel, running and maintenance costs than their petrol and diesel equivalents and the strategy hopes to encourage drivers across the nation to make the switch. Production costs also continue to fall. Some analysts expect purchase price parity with petrol and diesel cars to be reached well within the 2020s.