New measures to support electric vehicle (EV) drivers from the government’s Plan for Drivers have launched, including cash for councils and new proposals to boost chargepoint numbers.
The measures include a new grant providing up to 75% of the cost to buy and install chargepoints, up to £2,500 per socket, up from the previous £350.
Paid for by the UK Department for Transport, the grant forms part of the Workplace Charging Scheme and is available for state-funded schools, colleges, nurseries and academies to boost the chargepoint facilities for staff and visitors.
According to the government, the grant could also help schools to generate revenue by making their chargepoints available to the public.
The school’s grant is for state-funded schools and education institutions, which must have dedicated off-street parking facilities.
Independent schools may apply for funding through the Workplace Charging Scheme and the EV infrastructure grant for SMEs.
Minister for the school system and student finance at the UK Department for Education, Baroness Barran, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for schools across the UK to become part of an ongoing move towards a greener public sector.
“Schools engaging with this grant will be supporting the development of green infrastructure, helping to improve their local environments.
“Developing a greener education estate is a key element of our sustainability and climate change strategy.
“The expansion of this grant supports our ambition to improve the sustainability of our schools in the ongoing move towards net zero.”
The government also announced it will deliver the £381m Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) Fund to local authorities across the country.
The first capital payments for charging projects have been approved to three local authorities from East Sussex to North Yorkshire, and two London boroughs, bringing the total funding for these areas to more than £14.2m.
Through LEVI capability funding, almost 100 dedicated EV officers have been recruited to support chargepoint procurement, according to the government.
To aid local authorities in building a skilled workforce and delivering charging projects, the government is also launching an electric vehicle infrastructure (EVI) training course for their officers, which will open to all local authorities from mid-March following a successful trial.
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UK technology and decarbonisation minister, Anthony Browne, said: “We’re getting on with delivering our Plan for Drivers, and this latest set of measures will mean EV owners everywhere benefit from easier and more convenient access to chargepoints.
“This government has already spent more than £2bn to ensure a smooth switch to EVs, and we’re committed to supporting drivers as we transition towards net zero in a proportionate way that doesn’t burden working people.”
According to latest industry statistics, more and more drivers are making the switch to EVs, with fully electric vehicles accounting for more than 16% of the new UK car market in 2023.
What’s more, the number of plug-in vehicles in the UK has also risen to more than 1.2 million, of which 770,000 are fully battery-electric.
New laws recently came into force to provide EV drivers with easier and more reliable public charging, mandating that prices across chargepoints are transparent, easy to compare and that a large proportion of new public chargepoints have contactless payment options.
This comes as more than 53,000 public chargepoints have been installed across the UK.
In addition, the government has launched a consultation to look at ways to speed up chargepoint installation across the country.
The proposals would give EV chargepoint operators the right to carry out street works using a permit rather than a licence.
According to the government, permits can be issued in days instead of months and are significantly cheaper to obtain than licences, reducing costs for operators.
While the consultation runs, a new good practice guide has been published by the government to improve consistency in processing licence applications across different areas.
These are the second package of measures delivered from the government’s Plan for Drivers and follow last month’s announcement of a crackdown on disruptive roadworks and better digital information to boost sat-nav accuracy.
To support this, the government has published a list of common questions and answers on the transition to EVs, including battery range and chargepoint availability across the country.
For individuals and organisations wishing to install EV charging outlets, the government will shortly consult on removing the current 2m limitation so that wall-mounted outlets and upstands can be installed anywhere within an area lawfully used for off-street parking.
Achievements and innovations in EV charging will be celebrated at the third annual CiTTi Awards, which will be held on 26 November 2024 at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in London. Nominations officially open in March 2024. Please visit www.cittiawards.co.uk to learn more about this unmissable event for the UK’s transportation sector.