Government announces vision for rapid chargepoint network in England

Thu 14 May 2020 View all news

Following a detailed analysis, the Government has announced plans for the expansion of the rapid charging network in England. By 2030 it expects the network to number around 2,500 high powered chargepoints across England's motorways and major A-roads.
Currently, the Government analysis says, a driver is never more than 25 miles away from a rapid (50 kilowatt) chargepoint anywhere along England’s motorways and major A roads, with a total of 809 open-access rapid chargepoints, as of 1 January 2020. This includes an average of two rapid chargepoints at motorway service areas with more being rolled out over the next year.
The Rapid Charging Fund was announced in the March 2020 Budget as part of a £500 million commitment for EV charging infrastructure. The Government says that the purpose of the programme is to ensure that there is a rapid-charging network ready to meet the long-term consumer demand for electric vehicle chargepoints ahead of need.
The Fund enables the payment of a portion of costs at strategic sites across the strategic road network where upgrading connections to meet future demand for high powered chargepoints is prohibitively expensive and not commercial. Details of how the funding will be delivered will follow.
By 2023, the Government aims to have at least six high powered, open access chargepoints (150 - 350 kW capable) at motorway service areas in England, with some larger sites having as many as 10-12. These high powered chargepoints are able to charge up to 3 times faster than most of the chargepoints currently in place, and can deliver around 120-145 miles of range in just 15 minutes for a typical electric vehicle.
The Government says that it is confident this will be more than enough to meet 2023 demand from electric vehicles. By 2035 it expects around 6,000 high powered chargepoints across England’s motorways and major A roads.
Government will be working with the operators of major service areas to ensure that this charging provision is in place ahead of customer demand. The aim is to help support early adoption of electric vehicles and remove range anxiety concerns for drivers on long journeys.
Under its vision the Government expects that any new chargepoints will be easy to use and hassle-free.
That means:
  • drivers can pay for the cost of charging their vehicle using debit or credit card payment
  • information about the chargepoints on motorways will be openly available, helping drivers choose when, where and how they charge
  • chargepoints will be available 99% of the time
  • drivers will be supported by 24/7 customer care to handle any technical issues
  • sites will have chargepoints that support all types of electric vehicles
  • there will be clear pricing information available in pence per kilowatt hour
  • Working with industry, the Government will continue to monitor the number of chargepoints being installed across our motorways and the associated customer experience.

Government has powers under the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act to bring in regulations if necessary, to improve the consumer experience of using electric vehicle charging infrastructure and to ensure levels of chargepoint provision at key sites such as motorway service areas.

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