Accelerating EV growth: New funding to boost UK charge point rollout

The Government has introduced a range of fresh initiatives aimed at enhancing the quantity of EV charge points, such as providing grants to schools, allocating funds to local councils, and suggesting potential measures to reduce installation durations.

As part of the Plan for Drivers, these measures aim to assist electric vehicle drivers by expediting the installation of charge points. State-funded educational institutions, including schools, colleges, nurseries, and academies, now have the opportunity to access a grant that covers up to 75% of the expenses associated with purchasing and installing charge points. This grant offers a substantial increase, providing up to £2,500 per socket, compared to the previous amount of £350.

Funded by the Department for Transport (DfT), this grant is a component of the Workplace Charging Scheme. Additionally, it presents an opportunity for schools to generate income by making their charge points accessible to the public.

Government funding for EV charging points

In addition to the aforementioned information, five additional local authorities are slated to receive financial support for the installation of local charge points through the Government's £381m Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) Fund. The initial capital payments for charging projects have been authorised for three local authorities spanning from East Sussex to North Yorkshire, as well as two London Boroughs. Consequently, the total funding allocated to these areas now exceeds £14.2m.

Moreover, the Government's LEVI Capability funding has facilitated the recruitment of nearly 100 dedicated EV officers who will assist in the procurement of charge points. Furthermore, the Department for Transport (DfT) is preparing to launch an electric vehicle infrastructure (EVI) training course for local authority officers. This course, which has undergone a successful trial, will be made available to all local authorities starting from mid-March.

Recognising the pivotal role of local authorities in the implementation of charge points, particularly for on-street charging, the Government has expressed its intention to mandate local transport authorities to develop local charging strategies if they have not already done so as part of their local transport plans.

The On-street residential charge point scheme (ORCS) is accessible to local authorities, providing them with the opportunity to access grants. Businesses can also receive grants through the Government's Workplace charging scheme (WCS) to aid in their transition. Additionally, individuals residing in flats and rented accommodation can benefit from the Electric vehicle charge point grant.

To expedite the installation of charge points nationwide, the Government is initiating a consultation. This consultation aims to grant EV charge point operators the ability to carry out street works using permits instead of licenses.

Permits offer a faster issuance process, taking only days instead of months, and are more cost-effective compared to licenses. This reduction in costs benefits operators and accelerates the rollout of charge points for drivers.

During the consultation period, the Government has released a good practice guide to enhance consistency in processing license applications across different regions.

These measures are part of the Government's Plan for Drivers, marking the second set of initiatives. They follow the recent announcement of stricter regulations on disruptive roadworks and improved digital information to enhance sat-nav accuracy.

Additional measures include the publication of a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions regarding the transition to electric vehicles. This list covers topics such as battery range and the availability of charge points throughout the country.

Electric Vehicle charge points growth

The Department for Transport (DfT) will soon initiate a consultation regarding the elimination of the 2-metre restriction. This will allow for the installation of wall-mounted outlets and upstands in any designated off-street parking area.

Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Anthony Browne declared: “We’re getting on with delivering our Plan for Drivers, and this latest set of measures will mean EV owners everywhere benefit from easier and more convenient access to charge points.

“This Government has already spent over £2bn to ensure a smooth switch to EVs, and we’re committed to supporting drivers as we transition towards net zero in a proportionate way that doesn’t burden working people.”

As of the end of January 2024, the UK witnessed a significant increase in the number of charging devices, with over 55,000 available. This represents a 45% growth compared to the previous year. according to Zapmap statistics.

These figures align with the recent implementation of new laws aimed at enhancing the convenience and reliability of public charging for electric vehicle (EV) drivers.

These laws require that prices at charge points are transparent and easily comparable, while also ensuring that a considerable portion of new public charge points offer contactless payment options.

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