Energy regulator Ofgem is to deliver £300 million over the next two years to boost the UK’s electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure with thousands of new charge points and 200 low carbon projects.
The funding, which is a joint initiative between Ofgem and the distribution network operators (DNOs) will be used to install 1,800 new ultra-rapid chargers at motorway service areas, which will triple the existing network.
A further 1,750 charge points will be installed across towns and cities.
The regulator said that 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”.
While electric car ownership is on the rise, Ofgem research has found that 36% of households that do not intend to get an electric vehicle are put off making the switch over a lack of charging points near their home.
An extensive motorway charging network and more charging points in cities and train stations will help address this ‘range anxiety’, so Ofgem is accelerating investment to boost charge point installation.
Cities like Glasgow, Kirkwall, Warrington, Llandudno, York and Truro will benefit from increased network capacity to support more ultra-rapid charge points, increased renewable electricity generation and the move to more electric heating for homes and businesses.
Investment also covers more rural areas with charging points for commuters at train stations in North and Mid Wales and the electrification of the Windermere ferry.
"This £300m down payment is just the start..."
Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of Ofgem, said: “This £300m down payment is just the start of building back a greener energy network which will see well over £40 billion of investment in Britain’s energy networks in the next seven years.
“The payment will support the rapid take up of EVs which will be vital if Britain is to hit its climate change targets.
“Drivers need to be confident that they can charge their car quickly when they need to.”
Keith Bell, member of the Climate Change Committee, welcomed the new funding and said the joint initiative shows flexibility in the regulatory arrangements in the long-term interests of energy users.
Bell said: “On the journey to Net Zero, we need to make it as easy as possible for people to manage without their combustion engine cars.
“EVs vehicles are looking more and more attractive, but we need to make sure they can be charged easily, and that means having the right infrastructure – charge points and network capacity – in the right place at the right time.”
Ofgem and each of the DNOs launched a call for evidence in February for energy networks to come forward with projects that could help Britain reach net zero emissions faster and support the economy as the country comes out of the pandemic.