05 Feb Government Unveils Ambitious Plans to Accelerate Electric Vehicle Adoption Through New Support Measures
The UK government is taking significant strides in bolstering the electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem with the launch of innovative measures under the Plan for Drivers. Unveiled on February 5, 2024, the plan encompasses grants for schools, financial support for local councils, and ambitious proposals to enhance the national network of charging points.
In a bid to promote sustainability in education institutions, Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Anthony Browne inaugurated a groundbreaking grant initiative in Nottinghamshire. This grant, a part of the Workplace Charging Scheme, provides state-funded schools, colleges, nurseries, and academies with up to 75% of the costs associated with purchasing and installing chargepoints, capped at an impressive £2,500 per socket—significantly higher than the previous limit of £350. Schools with dedicated off-street parking facilities can apply online, and the enhanced infrastructure not only benefits staff and visitors but also offers a potential revenue stream by allowing public access to the chargepoints.
While state-funded schools are eligible for this specific grant, independent schools can tap into funding through the Workplace Charging Scheme and the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Grant for SMEs, illustrating the government’s commitment to inclusivity in promoting EV adoption.
Simultaneously, the government is injecting £381 million into the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) Fund, which will benefit local authorities across the country. Capital payments for charging projects have already been approved for authorities spanning East Sussex to North Yorkshire and two London boroughs, totalling an impressive £14.2 million. This financial injection aims to expedite the installation of thousands of new chargers, ensuring comprehensive coverage and accessibility for EV drivers nationwide.
To support the local authorities in their charging infrastructure projects, the government has recruited nearly 100 dedicated Electric Vehicle (EV) officers through the LEVI capability funding. Moreover, a comprehensive Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (EVI) training course for officers will be launched in mid-March, providing essential skills for the effective implementation of charging projects.
Minister Anthony Browne emphasized the government’s commitment to delivering on the Plan for Drivers, citing an investment of over £2 billion to facilitate a smooth transition to EVs. With EVs accounting for over 16% of the new UK car market in 2023, and the number of plug-in vehicles surpassing 1.2 million, the government is keen on fortifying the EV infrastructure to align with climate change commitments.
Recent legislation has mandated transparent and easily comparable pricing at public chargepoints, accompanied by widespread availability of contactless payment options. This legislative push comes on the back of the installation of over 53,000 public chargepoints across the UK, marking substantial progress in the electrification of transportation.
Baroness Barran, Minister for the School System and Student Finance, highlighted the significance of schools participating in the grant initiative. The move encourages schools to contribute to greener infrastructure development, aligning with the broader sustainability and climate change strategy. The government’s commitment to sustainability is further underscored by the launch of a consultation aimed at expediting chargepoint installations across the country.
The proposed consultation outlines plans to empower EV chargepoint operators with permits for street works instead of licenses, a move that promises faster approval (within days instead of months) and significant cost reductions. While the consultation is ongoing, the government has published a good practice guide to streamline license application processing.
These measures represent the second wave of initiatives from the government’s Plan for Drivers, building on last month’s crackdown on disruptive roadworks and efforts to enhance digital information for sat-nav accuracy. To address common concerns related to the transition to EVs, the government has also published a list of frequently asked questions, covering topics such as battery range and chargepoint availability.
Looking ahead, the government plans to consult on removing the 2-meter limitation for installing EV charging outlets, providing more flexibility for individuals and organisations within legally designated off-street parking areas.