The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, also known as Ofgem, has invested £300m into expanding the UK’s electric vehicle (EV) charging network today, to push the pedal on the country’s low carbon future.
In the bid for net zero, the non-ministerial government department has put money behind the electric vehicle sector, to instal 1,800 new charge points across motorway service areas and key trunk road spots.
The investment will triple the current network, Ofgem said. Meanwhile, a further 1,750 charge points will be backed in towns and cities.
“This £300m down payment is just the start of building back a greener energy network which will see well over £40bn of investment in Britain’s energy networks in the next seven years,” Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley said.
“In the year that Glasgow hosts the COP26 climate summit, the energy networks are rising to the challenge and working with us and partners to accelerate projects that can start now, benefiting consumers, boosting the economy and creating jobs.”
The UK’s electric infrastructure needs a considerable upgrade to support the heightened demand for EV transport.
Delivered over the next two years, the investment forms part of an estimated £40bn investment plan to bolster the UK’s EV infrastructure while maintaining secure supplies of electricity.
“With more than 500,000 electric cars now on UK roads, this will help to increase this number even further as drivers continue to make the switch to cleaner, greener vehicles,” transport minister Rachel Maclean said.
While electric car ownership is on the rise, Ofgem research has found that 36 per cent of households that do not intend to get an electric vehicle are put off making the switch over a lack of charging points near their home.
‘Range anxiety’ has curbed the uptake on EVs in the UK, with many families worried they would run out of charge before reaching their destination.
Ofgem has attempted to combat this by pinning a network of motorway charging points, as well as in cities like Glasgow, Kirkwall, Warrington, Llandudno, York and Truro.
The investment also covers more rural areas with charging points for commuters at train stations in North and Mid Wales and the electrification of the Windermere ferry.
“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,” Brearley added.
Delivered by Britain’s electricity networks, the network investment marks a firm bid in the UK’s climate commitments ahead of hosting the UN’s flagship climate conference, COP26.
David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association which represents the UK and Ireland’s energy networks businesses said:
“With just a few months left until COP26 we are delighted to have been able to bring forward such a crucial enabler of the Prime Minister’s green recovery ambitions,” chief executive of Energy Networks Association, David Smith, said.
“Delivering a green recovery for seas, skies and streets, over £300m of electricity distribution network investment will enable wide-ranging projects which help tackle some of our biggest Net Zero challenges, like electric vehicle range anxiety and the decarbonisation of heavier transport.”