28 April 2022

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The Government has unveiled its plan for expanding the UK charging network, with ambitious goals for on-street and rapid charging.

The Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy (EVIS) is the Government’s plan for expanding the UK’s EV charging network in order to reach 300,000 public charging points by 2030. This expansion (there are currently just over 30,000 public charging points) is backed by £1.6 billion in funding from the government.

Launching the strategy, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “No matter where you live – be that a city centre or rural village, the north, south, east or west of the country – we’re powering up the switch to electric and ensuring no one gets left behind in the process.

The EVIS is part of the Government’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, intended to accelerate the transition to a net zero economy.

In the strategy, the Government said the current pace of charging network rollout is too slow, and “too often, public charging lets people down”, with unreliable charging points, excessive costs and complex access regimes.

There are six goals for the plan:

  1. Everyone can find and access reliable public chargepoints wherever they live.
  2. Effortless on and off-street charging for private and commercial drivers is the norm.
  3. Fairly priced and inclusively designed public charging is open to all.
  4. Market-led rollout for the majority of chargepoints delivers a thriving charging sector.
  5. Infrastructure is seamlessly integrated into a smart energy system.
  6. Continued innovation to meet drivers’ needs lowers cost and increases convenience.

In this article we look at key parts of the strategy and how it helps to deliver these goals, and how this might impact on businesses and fleets.

On street charging

Local authorities will have to produce plans on how they will implement on-street charging for those homes and businesses without off-street parking.

A £500 million local infrastructure support programme is being made available to drive innovative solutions by the pavement that allow vehicles to be charged without causing a hazard to pedestrians and cyclists.

Rapid charging

As part of the EVIS, £950 million has been allocated to the ‘Rapid Charging Fund’ to pay for high powered chargers on the strategic road network.

It will ensure that every motorway service area has at least six rapid chargers by the end of 2023 with more than 6,000 high powered chargers operational on the major road network by 2035. Not only does this involve the installation of chargers, but also the electricity network capacity to meet demand in 2035 and beyond.

Pricing and payments

In 2021, the Competition and Markets Authority found that only 9% of all public chargepoints offer contactless payment, and the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy aims to change this, saying “paying for charging can be unnecessarily complicated”.

Instead, the strategy calls for “vibrant competition across the charging sector with choice in provider and type of charging, and open data on pricing and availability” as well as contactless payment as standard.

Increasing confidence in the network

The Government states it will regulate to ensure chargepoints are reliable and easy to use, and this will also include specific requirements on open data, price transparency, payment methods and reliability.

It said: “Competition between chargepoint operators will keep prices down and quality of service high. Drivers will be protected by rigorous reliability and transparency standards set out in law to ensure the public network is reliable and that they are able to access help using a chargepoint if they need it.

Ending workplace grants

Despite support already helping to provide more than 22,000 workplace chargepoints the report stated that the Government “will look to end direct subsidy support for…workplace charging at the earliest appropriate time.

However, it added: “We will continue to work closely with fleet operators to ensure the charging framework meets their needs."

Workplace charging is integral to the strategy. Without it (and other more efficient charging behaviours) the Government believes it would need nearer 700,000 on-street points to cope with demand.

Smart energy

A key part of the success for rolling out such a large network will be linking it to the smart energy grid.

The strategy states that the introduction of smart charging “allows EVs to be charged when it is most efficient for the balance of supply and demand across the electricity system. This means shifting charging to periods of lower overall demand for electricity”.

Also, smart energy systems will be able to offer lower cost tariffs to EV users, and allow homes and businesses to capitalise on the opportunities of ‘Vehicle-to-Grid’ – putting electricity back into the grid when it is not needed in the vehicle.

Charging your fleet before and after 2030

While these plans will take time to reach fruition, there are alternatives available now.

The Allstar One Electric card allows your drivers to access a public charging network with more than 5,700 charge points nationwide. To make things even easier, Allstar’s partnership with Zap-Map enables Allstar’s customers to search, plan and pay for their EV charging on-the-road.

To support home charging needs, Allstar Homecharge, powered by Mina, provides accurate payment for the costs of driver’s business EV charging at home.

Tom Rowlands, VP of Strategy at Allstar Business Solutions comments, “At Allstar we have spent a lot of time studying the EV ecosystem to understand the journey which fleet managers need to go through to enable their fleet to transition to EV. Through this work we have identified that understanding the complex and fragmented infrastructure landscape is critical, but also a key pain point for customers. Therefore, we welcome the Government’s investment into infrastructure for on-road and street charging. We will continue to work with key players to ensure our products simplify both finding charge points and paying for charging for fleet drivers.

For more information about Allstar’s EV solutions, click here.

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