With the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles fast-approaching in 2030 (only eight and a half years away!), the race to make the transition as effective as possible for new electric car drivers is on. A recently released report by the Commons Public Account Committee (PAC) showed that there are significant challenges in reaching the government’s target to switch all cars to net zero emissions, partly due to poor infrastructure.
Britain’s energy regulator is investing £300m to help triple the number of ultra-rapid charging points for electric vehicles across the country, as part of efforts to accelerate the UK’s shift to clean energy.
So, for those that don’t know, Ofgem is the official regulatory body for the electricity and natural gas industries in Great Britain. Ofgem are governed by the Gas and Electricity Market Authority (GEMA), and are funded by levies on the energy companies it regulates.
Ofgem intends to use this funding to build an infrastructure supporting a massive 3,550 new charging points. This will include 1,800 ultra-rapid charging sites at motorway service stations; there are currently 918 of these across the country.
The Ofgem chief executive, Jonathan Brearley has said;
“This £300 million 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 electric vehicles 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.”
Ofgem said the investment would be delivered over the next two years, and will benefit urban areas including Glasgow, Kirkwall, Warrington, Llandudno, York and Truro. The funding will also cover rural areas, with some charging points aimed at commuters at train stations in north and mid-Wales.
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, essentially, put off making the switch due 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.
This investment into the ‘electric future’ is promising for sure; however there are still some improvements within the infrastructure that stand out. To make the complete switch to zero emissions, drivers need the reassurance, ease and accessibility of charging their vehicle, not only whilst out on the, road but at home too.