With charging infrastructure being cited as one of the biggest barriers to EV adoption some of the most recent announcements could help ease the minds of company car drivers looking to switch into an electric vehicle in the next few years.

Currently the UK has around 25,000 charge points with forecasts suggesting more than 10 times this amount will be needed by 2030. by 2030, it is estimated that the number of EVs in the UK will be between 2.7 and 10.6 million, rising as high as 36 million by 2040. The perceived lack of public charging infrastructure has long been a concern for drivers and fleet operators with the majority of fleets (59%) not currently considering implementing EVs*. 

Here we have pulled together some of the most recent EV charging and charging network news, including the planned Government funding and the latest recommendations made by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Network Funding and CMA recommendations

In its November spending review the Government announced £1.3 billion of funding to grow the  network in recognition of the need to increase the public charging network and outlined the following: 
  • £950 million to support the rollout of rapid EV charging hubs at every service station on England’s motorways and major A-roads.
  • £275m to extend support for charge point installation at homes, workplaces and on-street locations, while reforming these schemes so they target difficult parts of the market such as leaseholders and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 
  • £90m to fund local EV charging infrastructure to support the roll-out of larger on-street charging schemes and rapid hubs in England.

However, there has been concerns on how some sectors are developing charging capabilities and research showing there is anxiety around the reliability of charge points, queue times, price comparisons and the varied range of processes to actually access charge points. With this in mind the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has completed a market study and set out measures to ensure a national network of electric vehicle charge points is in place ahead of the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. 

The CMA’s key recommendations include:

  • UK Government sets out an ambitious National Strategy for rolling out EV charging between now and 2030. This must sit alongside strategies from the Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland Governments, building on the work already being undertaken by all governments. Energy regulators should also ensure that it’s quicker and cheaper to connect new charge points. 
  • Governments support local authorities (LAs) to boost roll-out of on-street charging – including defining a clear role for LAs to manage the roll-out in their area and providing funding for the expertise needed for this to happen. 
  • UK Government attaches conditions to its £950m Rapid Charging Fund – which it is planning to use for grid upgrades at motorway service stations – to open up competition so that drivers have a choice of charging provider at each service station. 
  • UK Government creates an EV charging sector that people can trust and have confidence in, including tasking a public body with monitoring the sector as it develops to ensure charging is as simple as filling up at a petrol station.

A round up of other charging and charging network news: 

Ofgem invests £300 million to support new EV charging infrastructure

Ofgen is providing motorway service areas and key trunk road locations across the country the cabling they need to install 1,800 new ultra-rapid charge points, tripling the current network. This planned £300 million investment covers 200 low carbon projects to get Britain ready for more electric transport and heat. 

These projects will also provide new infrastructure to support 1,800 new ultra-rapid charging points at motorway service areas and is part of a broader investment programme for safe, secure and clean energy. 

The investment will be delivered in the next two years and is part of a much bigger plan to ensure Britain has the energy infrastructure it needs to support the move to low carbon transport

 esla Supercharger network to become open to other EVs

Tesla will be enabling vehicles from other manufacturers to use its Supercharger network later this year. Currently the Tesla Supercharger Network has 600 charge points across the UK and is available exclusively to Tesla drivers. 

These Supercharger points provide up to 250kW of charging power and non-Tesla vehicle users would require a socket adapter for compatibility. The company’s CEO made the announcement on Twitter, but no further details of the arrangement have been outlined yet.

Design team appointed to create an iconic British charge point

The Department for Transport (DfT) has appointed the Royal College of Art (RCA) and PA Consulting to deliver an iconic British charge point design, which will be unveiled at COP26 in Glasgow in November. The new-look charge points could then be seen on streets across the country from 2022 and the DfT are hoping to make electric vehicle charge points across the UK become as recognisable as the red post box.

New EV route planner planned by ZapMap and Advanced Infrastructure

Zap-Map and Advanced Infrastructure have secured funding to build Zap-Zero, a new electric vehicle (EV) route planner that provides zero-carbon journeys. The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) and Innovate UK, has awarded the partnership £540,000 to develop the initiative. The new EV routing product will give drivers the ability to choose the lowest possible carbon option, based on Advanced Infrastructure’s in-depth data on local power networks and their carbon intensity.

Zap-Map’s existing route planner gives EV drivers the ability to map journeys with charging stops based on their vehicle’s range and charging. The partnership will provide Zap-Map users with the option to select the lowest carbon charge points for their journey. 

Zap-Zero will be developed as part of Zap-Map’s route planner 2.0, expected to launch in early 2022.