Government launches proposals to boost charge points for electric vehicles

Large petrol retailers and motorway services will be required to install charging points for electric vehicles (EVs), as part of new legislation from the Government that also enables drivers of automated vehicles to gain insurance in the UK.

The Government published its Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill on Wednesday (18 October), to outline certain implementations to encourage the uptake of electric and hybrid vehicles in the UK.

While the Bill doesn’t state how many charge points petrol retailers and motorway services will have to install, it does give the Government powers to make installations compulsory across the UK. However, Transport Minister John Hayes noted that more than £1bn would be invested into the industry.

“We want the UK to be the best place in the world to do business and a leading hub for modern transport technology, which is why we are introducing the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill in Parliament and investing more than £1.2bn in the industry,” Hayes said.

“This bill will aid the construction of greater infrastructure to support the growing demand for automated and electric vehicles as we embrace this technology and move into the future.”

The Bill will create regulatory requirements for charge points to interact with the gird to manage electrical supply and demand and promote flexibility. All charge points must provide information to EV drives via sat navs and mobile apps, detailing the cost and availability of charging systems.

Automated insurance

As well as offering more funding for local authorities to install charging infrastructure in residential areas, the Bill enables drivers of autonomous vehicles to be insured on UK roads. Under new proposals, victims of accidents involving these vehicles will be provided with quick access to compensation, in line with existing insurance methods.

Official figures claimed that 89.5% of all collisions in 2016 involved human error, and research estimates that the autonomous vehicle market will be worth £50bn to the UK economy by 2035.

Road Minister Jesse Norman added: “Automated and electric vehicles will help improve air quality, cut congestion, boost safety and create thousands of skilled jobs in the UK. We have already supported the purchase of 115,000 ultra-low emission cars and there are already more than 11,500 publicly available chargepoints, but the demand continues to grow as more people purchase electric vehicles to cut fuel costs and boost the environment.”

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) told edie that the rise in EVs provided the “perfect opportunity” for businesses to export surplus energy to the grid. Last month, the association put forward proposals for a new Government charging infrastructure programme, which the trade body claimed could give electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles a 50% share of market sales by 2025.

Before the Bill was unveiled, Shell announced it was opening a range of rapid charging service systems across its UK petrol stations, with plans already in place to deploy more charging infrastructure by the end of the year.

Matt Mace

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