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UK Government Promises 10x Electric Car Chargers by 2030

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<p><figcaption class=Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

The new target comes after criticism of the infrastructure rollout for failing to match rising vehicle sales

The UK government has set a new target to increase the number of electric car chargers more than tenfold to 300,000 by 2030 after strong criticism that the rollout of public infrastructure is too slow to match rapid sales growth. .

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it would invest an additional £450m to do so, along with hefty sums of private capital. Sales of new cars and vans with gasoline and diesel engines will be banned from 2030.

There were 420,000 purely electric cars on UK roads at the end of February, according to comparison website Next Green Car. Yet there were only 29,600 public charging points in the UK on March 1, according to data company Zap-Map.

The £450m local electric vehicle infrastructure fund would focus on charging centers and street chargers, the DfT said.

BP also confirmed it would spend £1bn on new charger infrastructure in the UK as part of its plans to diversify revenue. The company overwhelmingly relies on fossil fuels for its profits, and is under pressure from investors and activists to show how it will achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

Boris Johnson linked the move to electric cars to the drive to reduce dependence on foreign supplies of fossil fuels. Fuel prices have reached record highs and the Russian invasion of Ukraine is expected to further exacerbate the cost of living crisis due to the global reliance on its oil and gas exports.

“Clean transport is not only better for the environment, it is another way we can reduce our dependence on external energy supplies,” the prime minister said.

The auto industry has consistently complained that the government is not doing enough to provide chargers, meaning many customers have refrained from buying battery electric cars for fear of not being able to recharge them.

Electric car sales accounted for 18% of new car registrations in February, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a lobbying group.

London and the South East of England have better access to public chargers than poorer parts of the UK, although many electric car owners are likely to rely on private chargers at home.

Car industry bosses responded with relief to the government’s commitment, which came on top of earlier plans to invest £950m in fast chargers. However, Mike Hawes, executive director of SMMT, said that he wanted binding targets on the launch of the charger.

“Charging infrastructure needs to keep pace with the rapid growth in sales of these cars,” he said. “Implemented nationally and at pace, this expansion would give drivers the confidence that they will be able to load up as easily as they would gas, wherever they are.”

AA President Edmund King said: “Although great progress has been made, much remains to be done to convince drivers of the number and, more importantly, the reliability of charging stations.”

He said urgent action was also needed to address issues with the usability of chargers, which may require separate accounts, and more work was needed in rural areas to make isolated charging stations feel more secure. Access for disabled drivers was also a problem, she said.

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