Councils get £20m of Government funding for local EV infrastructure schemes
The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced £20m of funding to improve electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure for councils, which are set to pilot rapid on-street chargers and ‘petrol-station-style’ charging hubs.
Across the nine selected areas, the funding is set to enable the delivery of 1,000 EV charging points. All chargers installed using the funding, which consists of both Government money and funding from the private sector, will be publicly accessible.
The councils selected to receive funding are the London Borough of Barnet; Dorset Council; Durham County Council; Kent County Council; North Yorkshire County Council; Nottinghamshire County Council; Suffolk County Council; Warrington Borough Council and Government office Midlands Connect, via Lincolnshire County Council.
In each location, on-street charging points will be installed in residential areas. Research from the Government and NGOs has repeatedly found that a major barrier to EV adoption is that many UK residents do not have access, at home, to a driveway or garage where they could install a charging point. Around seven million of the UK’s 27.8 million homes are estimated to not have a driveway.
As such, installing on-street infrastructure is regarded as key in increasing EV uptake. PwC estimates that around 72% of UK drivers could access on-street parking if needed.
Some councils involved in the scheme, called the Local EV Infrastructure (LEVI), will install rapid charging points on streets. Others will explore the potential of charging ‘hubs’, where people can come to recharge as they would visit a service station to refuel.
These installations mark the pilot phase of the LEVI, which should, in total, allocate £400m-500m. Plans for the fuller roll-out are due out by the end of 2022.
“We know that there are many drivers who do not have driveways or any form of off-street parking, so investing in streetside charging is an absolute necessity,” said the RAC’s head f policy Nicholas Lyes.
He added: “Drivers can also look forward to the prospect of local charging hubs which will give them somewhere to quickly charge their vehicles without needing to drive any considerable distance. The goal must be to spark electric vehicle uptake by creating an excellent charging infrastructure that caters for everyone’s needs.”
The allocation of the funding follows the launch of the highly-anticipated EV Infrastructure Strategy back in March. That Strategy kick-started the development of the LEVI. It also includes a commitment to £950m of investment in rapid charging points across the motorway network by 2035, as well as measures to improve charging point reliability, accessibility and affordability.
These initiatives will run alongside the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS), which has allocated funding for 2,869 charging points so far. The AA stated earlier this month that the DfT should make it easier for councils to apply for ORCS funding, after Department figures revealed that only 107 local authorities in England had their applications approved.
In related news, Northern Ireland this week confirmed that it will match £1.3m of funding from Whitehall’s Office for Zero-Emission Vehicles (OZEV) with £500,000 from its own Department for Infrastructure. Project developers will need to apply for a share of the funding, which is the first ORCS allocation for NI.
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Sandra Duffy, said: “The scheme will see 124 EV charge-points installed in a number of residential areas that do not have access to private off-street parking and charging.
“The demand for electric vehicles is set to grow, particularly in the climate of rising petrol and diesel prices and alongside the phase-out set by the UK government on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030. Local councils identified the need to work collectively in the development of further EV charging infrastructure as some forecasts predict the UK will be 100% electric by 2040-2045.”
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