New EV Policy Recommendations Stress Urgent Need for UK Charging Network Expansion

In order to successfully decarbonize their fleets, business leaders are calling on the UK government to prioritize policy support for the country’s electric vehicle (EV) charging network. Failure to rapidly increase the number of public charge points could hinder plans to transition to EVs.

The UK Electric Fleets Coalition (UKEFC), which represents major fleet operators such as BT, Centrica, OVO, DPD, IKEA, and Royal Mail, has released a policy paper outlining recommendations for the government to accelerate the expansion of the charging network.

While the installation of public charge points has increased recently, it remains unevenly distributed across the country. This disparity highlights the need for a significant increase in the number of chargers to accommodate the growing demand from the rapidly expanding EV fleet in the UK. Lack of access to kerbside charging infrastructure is a pressing concern, particularly for fleet operators whose drivers take their vehicles home overnight.

The UKEFC emphasizes that planning rules, insufficient local authority funding, and a lack of data and information on how to best deliver kerbside charge points are hindering progress.

It is crucial for the government to take action in improving the accessibility of public charge points. The UKEFC’s policy paper recommends the introduction of a ‘right to plug’ that would allow EV drivers to request access to chargers in their local area. Additionally, the approval process for the installation of pavement gullies should be fast-tracked to enable safe positioning of charging cables across pavements outside homes. Planning reforms are also needed to simplify depot upgrades for local grids, facilitating the installation of new charging arrays.

Moreover, the UKEFC proposes a statutory duty for local authorities to facilitate chargepoint delivery and urges the government to extend the plug-in van grant beyond 2024/25.

The Department for Transport is yet to provide comment on these recommendations.

Q: What is the UK Electric Fleets Coalition (UKEFC)?
A: The UKEFC represents major fleet operators in the UK and advocates for the expansion of the EV charging network.

Q: What are the challenges facing the installation of public charge points in the UK?
A: The challenges include planning rules, lack of local authority funding, and a lack of data and information on how to deliver kerbside charging infrastructure efficiently.

Q: What recommendations does the UKEFC policy paper make?
A: Recommendations include the introduction of a ‘right to plug,’ fast-tracking approval for pavement gullies, planning reforms for depot upgrades, and extending the plug-in van grant.

Q: What is the current market share of zero emission trucks in the UK?
A: Zero emission trucks currently account for 0.8% of the market, up from 0.3% earlier this year.

Q: How are OVO, Kaluza, and Volvo collaborating to develop smart charging capabilities?
A: The companies are partnering to develop bi-directional charging technology, with the upcoming Volvo EX90 all-electric SUV being the first vehicle to feature this capability.