UK Government to accelerate EV chargepoint rollout with new grants and funding

The UK Government has announced new measures to support EV drivers from its Plan for Drivers including grants for schools, cash for councils and new proposals to boost chargepoint numbers.
UK Government to accelerate EV chargepoint rollout with new grants and funding
EV charging. Courtesy of Andrew Roberts.

Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Anthony Browne will launch support for greener schools in Nottinghamshire today (5th February), with a new grant providing up to 75 percent of the cost to buy and install chargepoints, up to £2,500 per socket, up from the previous £350.

Paid for by the Department for Transport, the grant forms part of the Workplace Charging Scheme and is available for state-funded schools, colleges, nurseries and academies to boost the chargepoint facilities for staff and visitors. This could also help schools to generate revenue by making their chargepoints available to the public.

The schools grant is for state-funded schools and education institutions which must have dedicated off-street parking facilities – applications can be made online. Independent schools may apply for funding through the Workplace Charging Scheme and electric vehicle infrastructure grant for SMEs.

The Government is also delivering the £381 million Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) Fund to local authorities across the country. The first capital payments for charging projects have been approved to three local authorities from East Sussex to North Yorkshire, and two London Boroughs, bringing the total funding for these areas to more than £14.2m. The funding will support the installation of thousands of new chargers, ensuring the rollout continues at pace to support drivers in every area of the country.

Through its LEVI Capability funding, the Government says that almost 100 dedicated EV officers have been newly recruited to support chargepoint procurement. To aid local authorities in building a skilled workforce and delivering their charging projects, it is also launching the electric vehicle infrastructure (EVI) training course for council officers, which will open to all local authorities from mid-March following a successful trial.

“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” said Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Anthony Browne. “This Government has already spent over £2 billion to ensure a smooth switch to EVs, and we’re committed to supporting drivers as we transition towards net zero in a proportionate way that doesn’t burden working people.”

More and more drivers are making the switch to electric vehicles, with fully electric vehicles accounting for over 16 percent of the new UK car market in 2023, according to industry statistics. The number of plug-in vehicles in the UK has also risen to over 1.2 million, of which 770,000 are fully battery-electric, meaning more and more drivers are making the switch.

As this number continues to grow, the Government says it is investing alongside industry in EV infrastructure and to ensure its climate change commitments are met, whilst charting the fairest path to net zero which doesn’t unnecessarily burden families.

New laws recently came into force to provide EV drivers with easier and more reliable public charging, mandating that prices across chargepoints are transparent, easy to compare and that a large proportion of new public chargepoints have contactless payment options. This comes as over 53,000 public chargepoints have been installed across the UK, demonstrating the progress that has been made in the switch to electric.

“This is an exciting opportunity for schools across England to become part of an ongoing move towards a greener public sector “ added Minister for the School System and Student Finance at the Department for Education Baroness Barran. “Schools engaging with this grant will be supporting the development of green infrastructure, helping to improve their local environments. Developing a greener education estate is a key element of our Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy. The expansion of this grant supports our ambition to improve the sustainability of our schools in the ongoing move towards net zero.”

In addition, the Government is today launching a consultation to look at ways to speed up chargepoint installation across the country. The proposals would give EV chargepoint operators the right to carry out street works using a permit rather than a licence.

Permits can be issued much faster, taking days instead of months, and are significantly cheaper to obtain than licences, reducing costs for operators and speeding up the chargepoint rollout for drivers.

While the consultation runs, a new good practice guide has been published by the Government to improve consistency in processing licence applications across different areas.

These are the second package of measures delivered from the Government’s Plan for Drivers, and follow last month’s announcement of a crackdown on disruptive roadworks and better digital information to boost sat-nav accuracy.

To further deliver on its Plan for Drivers commitments, the Government has published a list of common questions and answers on the transition to EVs, including battery range and chargepoint availability across the country.

To provide further flexibility to individuals and organisations wishing to install EV charging outlets, the Government says it will shortly consult on removing the 2-metre limitation so that wall-mounted outlets and upstands can be installed anywhere within an area lawfully used for off-street parking.

The Government’s zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate requires 80 percent of new cars and 70 percent of new vans sold in Great Britain to be zero emission by 2030, providing certainty to consumers and industry and helping speed up the rollout of chargepoints.

Supporting the Government’s approach to EVs, investment in gigafactories and EV manufacturing continues, including Nissan’s recent investment of over £3 billion to develop 2 new electric vehicles at their Sunderland plant; Tata’s investment of over £4 billion in a new 40 GWh 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; and Stellantis’ £100 million investment in Ellesmere Port for EV van production.

Last year, the UK and EU agreed to extend trade rules on electric vehicles, saving manufacturers and consumers up to £4.3 billion in additional costs and providing long-term certainty for industry.

In addition, the On-street residential chargepoint scheme (ORCS) is open to all UK local authorities. Grants are also available to help businesses make the transition through the government’s Workplace charging scheme (WCS), as well as people in flats and rented accommodation through the Electric vehicle chargepoint grant.

For additional information:

Department for Transport (DfT)

Office for Zero Emission Vehicles

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