UK government misses motorway EV charging target

UK government misses motorway EV charging target



New funding will be used to prepare five to 10 service stations for more 100kW-plus chargers

Fewer than four in 10 motorway service stations host six or more ultra-rapid electric car charge points

The UK government has missed its goal to have six or more ultra-rapid (150kW-350kW) electric vehicle chargers at every motorway service station in England by the end of 2023.

New analysis published by the RAC revealed that only 46 of the nation’s 119 service stations meet the criteria set out by the Department for Transport in May 2020.

It confirms Autocar’s December 2023 report that the target was set to be missed, as many service stations were limited to a sub-150kW charging provision.

Some sites – including Barton Park, Leicester Forest and Tebay South – still lack any form of EV charging provision.

According to figures from charger mapping service Zap-Map, there were 53,029 EV charge points in the UK at the end of November 2023. Of these, just 4505 were capable of delivering ultra-rapid charge rates.

Charge-point operators have previously highlighted the slow pace of electrical grid connections as a significant barrier to installing new chargers. Gridserve CEO Toddington Harper told Autocar in April 2023: “Almost every issue of speed of implementation is down to the speed of grid connections.”

Harper added that operators “can often be delayed by months or more waiting for a connection”.

The government announced at November’s COP28 climate conference that it had established a £70 million pilot fund intended to improve grid connections at several sites.

It said the money, taken from the £950 million Rapid Charging Fund, would be used to prepare five to 10 locations for 100kW-plus charge points.

The government’s ambition with the new funding is to ‘future-proof’ each service station’s electrical capacity against the expected increase in demand for motorway chargers through to 2035. That year, sales of new petrol- and diesel-powered cars, including hybrids, will be banned.

It also acknowledged that the current state of the nation’s charging infrastructure is a barrier to electric car adoption. It said the fund will give “consumers more confidence to choose EVs”.

Transport secretary Mark Harper said: “This £70m pilot scheme is the starting point and sends a message to consumers and industry that we are investing wisely and rapidly to grow the future of transport in the UK.”

The improvement process at these five to 10 initial sites – the precise number being dependent on the applications received by National Highways – will be used to gather evidence for an eventual, larger fund.

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