Gov UK announces new measures to support EV rollout

6th February 2024
Paige West

The government has announced the launch of new initiatives under its Plan for Drivers, aimed at bolstering support for electric vehicle (EV) drivers.

These initiatives include grants for educational institutions, funding for local councils, and fresh proposals to enhance the availability of chargepoints.

Anthony Browne, the Technology and Decarbonisation Minister, is set to unveil a new grant scheme in Nottinghamshire, targeted at making schools more environmentally friendly. This scheme will cover up to 75% of the expenses involved in purchasing and installing chargepoints, offering up to £2,500 per socket, a significant increase from the previous £350 limit.

Funded by the Department for Transport, this grant is a part of the Workplace Charging Scheme. It is accessible to state-funded educational establishments, including schools, colleges, nurseries, and academies, aiming to augment their chargepoint facilities for both staff and visitors. Additionally, this initiative could enable schools to generate income by opening their chargepoints to the public.

The grant is specifically designed for state-funded educational institutions with dedicated off-street parking, with the application process being conducted online. Independent schools are eligible to apply for funding through the Workplace Charging Scheme and the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Grant for SMEs.

Furthermore, the government has committed £381 million to the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) Fund, assisting local authorities nationwide. Initial capital payments have already been approved for projects in three local authorities spanning from East Sussex to North Yorkshire and two London boroughs, cumulatively receiving over £14.2 million in funding. This investment is set to support the installation of thousands of new chargepoints, facilitating the expansion of EV infrastructure across the UK.

In addition to financial support, the government has introduced the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (EVI) training course for local authority officers, following a successful trial. This initiative aims to enhance the skills of nearly 100 newly appointed EV officers who will oversee chargepoint procurement.

Minister Anthony Browne highlighted the government's dedication to easing the transition to EVs, stating: "We’re getting on with delivering our Plan for Drivers, and this latest set of measures will mean EV owners everywhere benefit from easier and more convenient access to chargepoints.”

The government's investment in EV infrastructure is part of a broader effort to meet climate change commitments while ensuring a fair transition to net zero. Recent legislation has also been introduced to improve the public charging experience for EV drivers, including measures to make pricing more transparent and to increase the availability of contactless payment options.

Baroness Barran, Minister for the School System and Student Finance, expressed enthusiasm for the grants, noting: "This is an exciting opportunity for schools across the UK to become part of an ongoing move towards a greener public sector."

The government is also seeking public feedback on proposals to expedite chargepoint installations. These proposals aim to streamline the process by allowing chargepoint operators to obtain permits instead of licenses, significantly reducing both the time and cost involved.

The announcement of these measures follows recent efforts to address roadwork disruptions and enhance navigation systems, further illustrating the government's commitment to supporting EV drivers and advancing towards a zero-emission future.

Justin Godfrey-Cass, Head of Transport Solutions at Wireless Logic, comments on the challenges of charge point rollouts, and the need for reliable, secure connectivity: “Despite the government’s efforts, the electric vehicle (EV) rollout has been hampered by planning constraints, cost of installation, need for access, and the need for resilient and highly secure two-way connectivity in locations where wired infrastructure isn’t always readily available. The whole process can take weeks, making it hard for councils to keep up with the demand of EV sales. If the government wants to make it EVs a viable option for consumers, the importance of secure, always-on internet of things (IoT) connectivity cannot be overlooked.  

“First and foremost, new charging points must meet the needs of the consumer. Drivers expect a charge point to be fully operational at all times, keep their data secure and bill them correctly. Charge points need to be more widespread, available, accessible, and well-maintained. As the number of EVs increases, it will present a load-balancing challenge for energy service providers. All charge points will need to be connected and monitored so operators can gather data on when vehicles are charging to predict peak periods and schedule charging cycles to avoid power fluctuations, surges, and outages.

“As the EV charge point rollout begins to take form, they will ultimately represent critical national infrastructure to the public and businesses, so the importance of having secure connectivity cannot be overlooked. By deploying a highly resilient and secure charging solution, CPOs can provide a much more seamless and trusted charging experience for the customer; everything from booking a charging time to providing Wi-Fi hotspots and digital signage whilst you wait. The government and construction companies must make this top-priority.”

The government’s approach to EVs has already attracted record investment in gigafactories and EV manufacturing, including:

  • Nissan’s recent investment of over £3 billion to develop two new electric vehicles at its Sunderland plant
  • Tata’s investment of over £4 billion in a new 40GWh gigafactory
  • BMW’s investment of £600 million to build next-generation MINI EVs in Oxford
  • Ford’s investment of £380 million in Halewood to make electric drive units
  • Stellantis’ £100 million investment in Ellesmere Port for EV van production

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