UK moving too slowly on EV charging

2030 charger target will not be met at current rate of deployment, says Believ

UK moving too slowly on EV charging
Local authorities are responsible for installing on-street EV chargers

The UK will only achieve its target of having 300,000 charging points by 2030 if the pace of installation increases “exponentially”, according to a report from charging infrastructure firm Believ.

The target requires on average 27,000 installations each year between now and 2030. But only 16,600 charge points have been installed since 2022.

"The Department of Transport and the Environment suggests we are on track to achieve the government’s ambition of 300,000 charge points by 2030,” says the report. “But […] this will only happen if the number of installed charge points grows exponentially in the next few years.”

Responsibility for deployment is devolved by the government to local authorities, but the report finds that only 18pc of the 100 local authorities surveyed have full-time staff working on EV infrastructure. 

And many (80pc) remain frustrated by the accessibility and administration of funding. 

During 2023, 25 local authorities across England were allocated £57mn of public and private funding, and the government has promised to release another £381mn from its Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (Levi) fund in the next two years. The On-Street Residential Charging Scheme (ORCS) also provides £15m of funding. 

But the money is not being allocated fast enough, the report finds.

“It is very clear that the slow pace at which funding is being allocated and released is slowing down the implementation of the infrastructure,” it says. 

The report found that councils with Levi funding were in fact expecting a slower rollout than those without, as those dependent on Levi were hampered by slow government administration. 

It recommends that the government “significantly accelerate” the Levi administration process, as well as the process which allocates funding to councils for full-time EV infrastructure staff. 

Budget issues

Councils still have to use some of their own budgets for EV infrastructure, and 43pc said they could not justify the spend given the need to address other priorities. 

Councils outside the southeast of the country also said that their residents often could not afford EVs, meaning the infrastructure was not needed.

“Although many respondents feel the relatively low levels of EV ownership […] that will not be the case for much longer and local authorities will need to accelerate the rollout of a local public access charging infrastructure to meet the increasing demand from residents,” says the report. 

Around 60pc of local authorities also said they had received insufficient guidance from central government on the appropriate location of charge points.

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And many authorities found it slow and expensive to connect new charge points to the grid, especially in remote rural areas. 

Electricity regulator Ofgem has a plan to reduce costs and tackle connection delays, but even then connecting to the grid will remain an issue for some authorities, according to the report.

A recent parliamentary report on EVs recommend that the government work with Ofgem and industry to “increase anticipatory investment” in grid infrastructure.

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