REA proposes national EV charging infrastructure strategy

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has put forward proposals for a new Government charging infrastructure programme, which the trade body claims could give electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles a 50% share of market sales by 2025.

The REA predicts a shift from charging at traditional service stations to fill ups at home and workplace as the EV market develops. To support this shift, the Government will need to introduce a minimum level of charging points at public car parks, all new supermarkets and other retail sites, according to the REA’s Forward View report. 

Such charging could be supported by smart tariffs that enable consumers to charge at different prices, depending on need and capability, alongside onsite renewable energy and battery storage at major charge stations. This would help to limit costs and reduce grid stress, the REA claims.

REA head of electric vehicles Matthew Trevaskis said: “This Forward View is our way of communicating that we think the shift to electric vehicles, in part or in whole, could take place much more rapidly than most of the public and many in Government currently think.

“It’s essential that Government is factoring in this historic shift into new building regulations, infrastructure investment, and energy policy so that the transition is as smooth as possible and Britain benefits from its current leadership position.”

A lack of charging infrastructure at present is seen as a major barrier to the development UK’s EV market. But with a vast amount of technological change expected over the coming decades, the REA anticipates that a viable alternative system to combustion engines will be viable by the time the Government’s 2040 diesel and petrol vehicle bans comes into effect.

A national charging strategy should include the regulations that require the installation of three-phase electricity supply in all new homes and integrated charging into all residential developments, says the REA. Meanwhile, all new workplaces should have EV charging facilities onsite or provision to install charge points, the trade body insists.

Charging ahead

Research from Nissan, one of the leaders of the EV transition, estimates that there will be more EV charging stations than petrol stations in the UK within four years.

MPs last week launched an inquiry into the funding of infrastructure for EVs and associated grid reinforcements. The investigation will examine how charging infrastructure requirements differ for alternative types of vehicle, journey, and users. 

The Greater London Authority (GLA) and Transport for London (TfL) recently allocated £4.5m to 25 London boroughs to roll-out 1,500 new charging points across the capital by 2020. The allocated funds are part of an award that London received from the Government’s Office for Low Emissions Vehicles’ Go Ultra Low City scheme, which has also issued funds for charging infrastructure in Milton Keynes.

Earlier this week, the REA spoke of the “major opportunity” for UK firms not traditionally associated with vehicle production to enter the EV market. This came after British engineering firm Dyson revealed it is set to enter the market with the launch of a new model by 2020.

George Ogleby

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie