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Government puts extra £20m into charge points

The Government is investing an extra £20m into funding available for local authorities to deploy much-needed on-street charge points.

The funding could double the UK’s number of on-street charge points to nearly 8,000

The funding is being used to continue the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) into 2021/22 and could double the UK’s number of on-street charge points to nearly 8,000.

The scheme, run in partnership with the Energy Saving Trust, was founded in 2017 and has been used to date for more than 140 local authority projects, supporting nearly 4,000 charge points across the UK.

In a letter to councils across Britain, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps called for applications from councils that haven’t yet applied for funding, as well as those that have already benefited, in particular in the build-up to the 2030 ban on sales of new petrol/diesel cars and vans.

Grant Shapps said: “From Cumbria to Cornwall, drivers across the country should benefit from the electric vehicle revolution we’re seeing right now. With a world-leading charging network, we’re making it easier for more people to switch to electric vehicles, creating healthier neighbourhoods and cleaning up our air as we build back greener.”

Chris Burghardt, MD – Europe at ChargePoint, said increased investment in electric vehicle infrastructure is vital in supporting purchasing of new EVs and essential if we are going to reach full EV adoption by 2030.

But he added: “Whilst this investment is an important step in achieving widespread EV adoption, more can be done. More still needs to be done in regards to cross industry collaboration to make current charging stations more accessible for drivers. ChargePoint believes an important part of this vital driver confidence is for the UK to have a fully interoperable ‘roamable’ charging network where any driver can use any station without being concerned about apps and membership cards. Only when this is achieved will we see adoption increase to the pace that we need.”

Edmund King, AA president, also said more charge points will need to be installed.

“For the 40% of households without designated off-street parking, finding a viable, cheap and simple to use solution, is key.

“However, our own study last year showed that some councils used this grant to only fund charge points in town centre car parks. While car park chargers are important, we feel this goes against the spirit of the grant which is aimed at overcoming tackling the problem of EV drivers without off-street parking.

“The charging network must also be reliable which is why we are working with charge point operators to help keep the power flowing.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.