Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out plans for a dramatic expansion of the UK’s electric-vehicle charging network by 2030 when the government will ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars.
The aim is to add up to 145,000 new charging points a year to the system until the end of the decade, building on the 250,000 already installed in homes and workplaces.
Britain has one of the Europe’s largest EV charging networks, but new places to charge are growing more slowly than sales of electric cars. The measures will absorb some of the 620 million pounds ($834 million) of funding for the transition to electric cars that the government earmarked last month in its strategy to reach net-zero emissions.
“We will require new homes and buildings to have EV charging points,” Johnson will say in a speech to the CBI, the nation’s biggest business group.
The funding for EV charging seeks to address criticism that the UK lacks the infrastructure needed to support the vehicles and that much of what there is currently isn’t reliable.
More than 5.2% of the 26,000 public charging devices in the UK weren’t usable, according to research by Channel 4’s “Dispatches” program and the EV-driver app Zap-Map. It also found 10% of the rapid chargers deployed that are needed for longer journeys didn’t work.
“It’s an issue that needs to be improved,” said Melanie Shufflebotham, co-founder of Zap-Map. “When I talk to the network operators, they are very aware of reliability. They know that is the number-one thing that electric vehicle drivers want.
The government also announced a new three-year program of 150 million pounds of loans to small businesses for innovation. Part of those will support environmental technologies. Others are aimed at boosting skills in the workforce.
“We are investing in new projects to turn wind power into hydrogen,” Johnson will say, according to excerpts of the speech released by his office.
The government will push legislation for the EV charging network through Parliament in 2021.