The government confirmed its commitment to developing a comprehensive national network of chargepoints for electric vehicles this week by announcing that electric vehicle users will be no more than 20 miles from a chargepoint on the UK’s trunk roads, effectively bringing an end to ‘range anxiety’.
An investment of £15 million by the Highways Agency will expand the existing chargepoint network to ensure that for 95% of the time, electric vehicle users will be no more than 20 miles from a chargepoint. Wherever feasible these will be rapid chargers, capable of charging an electric vehicle, to 80% of capacity in less than 30 minutes. This investment is expected to add thousands of new chargepoints at key locations across the UK’s road network.
This major commitment is part of the government’s existing support for the ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV) market and infrastructure. The government and the automotive industry have also partnered to form the ‘Go Ultra Low’ campaign, which aims to help UK motorists understand the benefits, cost savings and performance features of the wide range of ultra low emission vehicles available today, including electric, plug-in hybrid and extended range vehicles.
Alex Michaelides, a spokesperson for the Go Ultra Low campaign comments: “We know from our research that ‘range anxiety’ is one of the major concerns electric vehicle users have when considering an ultra low emission vehicle. The news that you’ll never be more than 20 miles from a chargepoint means that this worry will no longer be a factor. These vehicles are now a genuine option for more and more riders and drivers up and down the country, with their impressive range and driving costs from as little as 2p per mile.”
Drivers pay no Vehicle Excise Duty or London congestion charge on ULEVs, and company car drivers enjoy further significant tax benefits. The average journey made by road users is just seven miles, with the typical range of a pure electric car being around 100 miles.
There are already 8,500 chargepoints installed at nearly 3,000 locations across the UK, 750 of which are rapid chargers. By the end of the year almost every motorway service station will have a rapid charger. The Highways Agency investment comes on top of this existing progress – solidifying the UK’s network as the best in Europe.
A government grant of up to £5,000 towards the cost of purchasing a ULEV is available to motorists and the government announced in April this year that at least £200m will be provided for the continuation of this Plug-in Car Grant.
The Highways Agency will lead the electric chargepoint network extension programme, working in close liaison with the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and engaging with other industry partners and stakeholders as necessary. Further information about specifications, timescales and procurement will be made available in due course. The network will be complete by 2020 at the latest.
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