Energy regulator Ofgem has announced a multi-million-pound project to increase the number of electric charging stations on UK roads.
Ofgem said the funding will triple the current number of ultra-rapid charge points to 1,800, as well as adding further 1,750 charging stations in towns and cities.
Currently, the availability of charging stations is often cited as a major hurdle for encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles, and it’s an issue that could seriously hamper Britain’s net-zero targets in the future.
However, according to current statistics, there are currently more than 40,000 charging connectors in Britain at more than 15,000 locations.
Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of Ofgem 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’s new investment aims to encourage more drivers to “make the switch” from petrol and diesel to electric but says Britan’s current infrastructure requires “a massive upgrade” to support demand.
Commenting on the news, Lisa Barber, Which? Home Products and Services Editor, said: “Millions of people in the UK are expected to switch to electric cars over the next decade.
“However, the UK’s public charging infrastructure is fragmented, difficult to access and can be a major barrier to ownership for those who don’t have a private charger.”
Research carried out by Ofgem revealed that around 36% of households say they won’t buy an electric vehicle due to a lack of charging points near their home.
Barber continued: “Ofgem’s investment to expand the UK’s public charging network is a positive step towards removing one of the biggest hurdles to electric vehicle ownership.
“To ensure electric vehicles are an option for all consumers, the public charging infrastructure must be overhauled to offer universal access to all networks, making it much simpler and easier to use than it is today.”
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Serious failings in Britain’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure have already been highlighted by Which?
In March, a study carried out by the consumer rights watchdog found that many motorists “cannot easily use” charging networks, many of which are operated by a host of different providers.
Additionally, data revealed that motorists are bewildered by an “array of sub-standard” apps and payment methods, with many drivers facing unnecessarily expensive charges.
In June last year, the UK Government announced a fresh funding boost for electric vehicle adoption in Britain.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the £12 million funding boost as the government announced its plans for a ‘green economic recovery’ in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ofgem said that its latest investment would benefit Scottish towns Glasgow and Kirkwall from increased network capacity, with the investment also covering rural areas in Britain.