Energy regulator Ofgem will invest £300million to install more charging points for electric cars in cities and motorways across the country in a welcome infrastructure boost, it was announced today.
The watchdog said it will triple the network of ‘ultra rapid’ charging points at motorway service areas and ‘key’ trunk road locations by installing 1,800 new ones, with a further 1,750 earmarked for towns and cities.
These are the devices with the quickest charge times, capable of boosting batteries to 80 per cent in around half an hour or less.
The funding will be used to give Britain’s cables, substations and other infrastructure a ‘massive upgrade’ to cope with the increased demand for electricity.
Electric car boost: Ofgem said it will triple the network of ‘ultra rapid’ charging points
Ofgem said the investment will take place over the next two years and will cover a total of 204 ‘low-carbon projects’ across the country.
These will include new charging points and enhanced infrastructure in cities and towns like Glasgow, Kirkwall, Warrington, Llandudno, York and Truro, Ofgem said.
More rural areas will also be covered, with new charging points for commuters at train stations in North and Mid Wales.
The Windermere ferry, which crosses the eponymous touristic lake in Cumbria’s Lake District, will also become entirely electric, Ofgem said.
The investment announced today is part of a wider £40billion programme unveiled by the regulator in December, with more investments set to be made public next year.
‘As drivers make the switch from petrol and diesel to electric, Britain’s cables, substations and other infrastructure need a massive upgrade to support this new demand for electricity’, Ofgem said today.
Ultra-rapid chargers are devices currently with the quickest charge times. They can boost an electric vehicle’s batteries to 80% in around half an hour or less
The Windermere ferry, which crosses the eponymous touristic lake in Cumbria (pictured), will become fully electric, Ofgem said
It comes as a recent survey by the regulator showed that over a third of people, or 38 per cent, were still unconvinced by electric cars, mostly because they are still perceived as too expensive.
However, more than a third said their biggest worry was not finding charging points close to their home.
The survey outlined some of the challenges regarding electric vehicles and their adoption by the wider population ahead of November’s COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow.
Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of Ofgem, said: ‘Drivers need to be confident that they can charge their car quickly when they need to.
‘In the year that Glasgow hosts the Cop26 climate summit, the energy networks are rising to the challenge and working with us and partners to accelerate projects that can start now, benefiting consumers, boosting the economy and creating jobs.’
Transport minister Rachel Maclean ‘warmly’ welcomed Ofgem’s investments
RAC EV spokesman, Simon Williams, said Ofgem’s investment was ‘excellent news’ and will allow companies which operate charging points to ‘massively boost’ the number of ultra-rapid stations.
He added: ‘Widespread availability of faster charging facilities will help to give more drivers the confidence to go electric and will also be vitally needed as more people opt for EVs.
‘It will also mean EV drivers travelling long distances will be able get to their destinations more quickly and with far less stress. We believe the closer the experience of public recharging becomes to the short time spent refilling at petrol stations, the better.’
The RAC said they were also playing their parts, having fitted its ‘EV Boost’ mobile charging units to more of their patrol vans to help drivers in need of an emergency boost to their batteries.
Transport minister Rachel Maclean ‘warmly’ welcomed Ofgem’s investments, saying they would ‘greatly improve’ the resilience of the country’s charging network.
‘With more than 500,000 electric cars now on UK roads, this will help to increase this number even further as drivers continue to make the switch to cleaner, greener vehicles,’ she said.
David Smith, chief executive of Energy Networks Association, which represents the UK and Ireland’s energy networks businesses, said the plans helped tackle some of the ‘biggest’ challenges towards net-zero emissions, including ‘electric vehicle range anxiety and the decarbonisation of heavier transport’.
‘With just a few months left until Cop26 we are delighted to have been able to bring forward such a crucial enabler of the Prime Minister’s green recovery ambitions,’ he added.
A breakdown of how much and to which companies the £300million funding will go to
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