Government Misses Target for EV Rapid Chargers on Motorways

The Eco Experts

The government has missed its target for electric vehicle (EV) chargers on motorways, according to the RAC.

The Department for Transport had set a target of having at least six rapid chargers at every motorway service area in England by the end of 2023.

Only 46 of 119 service areas – 39% of the total – reviewed by RAC using Zapmap, have six or more chargers above 50 kilowatt (kW).

Rapid chargers can add 100 miles of range to EVs in a little over 30 minutes, making them highly desirable to drivers on long journeys.

EV no-go areas

Four motorway locations – Leicester Forest on the M1, Tebay South on the M6, and Barton Park on the A1(M) – have no EV charging facilities at all, while 18 other spots have no rapid chargers.

It’s safe to say supply isn’t quite meeting demand when it comes to public charge points. The number of EVs in Britain is now over 2.3 million, but there are only 19 public charging points for every 1,000 vehicles on average, according to the latest EV statistics.

The absolute worst places in the whole of Britain for EV drivers are Hereford, Derry, and Inverness, according to One Sure Insurance. These towns have less than 14 public chargers per 100,000 EVs.

But it’s not all bad news for EV drivers.

Overall, the number of rapid chargers at motorway service areas did increase by around 23% as of April 2023, and EV breakdowns caused by lack of charge were down by 70% in 2023, according to the AA. They dropped from 4% in 2022 to 2.1% in 2023, bringing them closer to the 1% of petrol/diesel cars that break down when they run out of fuel.

AA president Edmund King put this down to improvements in charging infrastructure, car range, and consumer awareness.

Of course, there’s always the option to charge your car at home, but not everyone can afford the cost of an EV home chargepoint, or has a driveway to park and charge their car in.

That’s why the government needs to increase the number of public charging points if it wants more people to drive EVs, lower transport emissions, and reach net zero by 2050.

Rapid Charging Fund

To help with the transition, the Department for Transport announced that it would allocate £950 million to a new Rapid Charging Fund, back in March 2022. The funds will be used to install more rapid charging points on motorways.

After several delays, applications for a pilot version of the Rapid Charging Fund finally opened in December 2023.

Simon Williams, a spokesperson for the RAC, believes that once the fund “kicks into action”, there'll be an uptick in installations. He notes that common hurdles to installing rapid-charge points, such as connecting high-power cabling to the grid, can be overcome with government support.

Electric cars play a vital role in helping the UK achieve net zero emissions, and a new study also suggests EVs can boost the UK's energy security far more than UK produced oil and gas.

Written by:
Tatiana has written about multiple environmental topics, including heat pumps, energy-efficient household products, and solar panels. She is dedicated to demystifying green tech to make eco-friendly living more accessible.
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