With the move towards Net Zero, the UK’s challenge is to meet legally binding climate change targets and commit to reach zero emissions by 2050. One landmark date on the journey to net zero is that by 2030, the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans comes to an end. Five years later, in 2035, the only vehicles that can be sold will have zero emissions from the tailpipe.
Zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) are key to meeting these rapidly approaching goals, yet there are currently just 30,000 public chargers in the UK with approximately 420,000 electric vehicles (EVs) and 750,000 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) in operation. The number of electric vehicles of all types on UK roads is growing as EVs become more popular.
To tackle this issue, the UK government has announced a new Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy with a £1.6 billion investment. The plan is to install more EV charging points to meet the demands of vehicle uptake.
Involving Local Authorities
A major stakeholder in the drive for Net Zero is the numerous local authorities. With their responsibility for planning policies, local authorities are key to the rollout and implementation of EV charging infrastructure.
With both district and borough councils, the administrations are expected to work in coordination with the appropriate Highways Authorities to deliver a coordinated strategy.
One key role of local authorities is that they understand the transport needs of their populations as well as owning public assets which are crucial to the charging infrastructure, such as car parks and even the lampposts and bollards, which can be adapted for EV charging.
In the financial year 2022-2023 there are several funding schemes in the overall EV infrastructure strategy;
- On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS)
Available to all UK local authorities, ORCS provides funding towards the capita costs of installing EV charging points for residents without private parking. The total scheme funds total £20 million.
- Local EV Infrastructure (LEVI) Fund
Worth £450 million, the Local EV Infrastructure Fund is designed to help local authorities leverage private sector investment in their charging networks.
- The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS)
The WCS has been created to help local authorities electrify their own transport fleets and help to transition their staff to EVs. In 2022 the scheme will expand to help small accommodation businesses and the charitable sector before opening up to small and medium-sized businesses, helping them to fund fleet and staff car parks.
- Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS)
The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) is being reformed to boost the number of EV charge points in flats and rental accommodation.
From April 1st, there will be an EV charge point grant for landlords, offering £350 towards the purchase and install of charge points.
- Rapid Charging Fund
The Rapid Charging Fund is worth £950 million and focuses on the provision of fast charging points for motorways and A-roads. Whilst this is a long-term scheme, the immediate target is to place at least 6 ultra-fast changepoints in every motorway service area in England by the end of 2023.
There are an estimated 39 million registered vehicles on the UK’s roads, so with around 420,000 EVs and 750,000 PHEVs in circulation right now, there’s a lot more transport to be electrified by 2030. On top of the road vehicles, there’s still air transport and maritime vessels to be considered, and although these won’t be needing public charging points, there’s a huge amount of work to go.
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