Ofgem has today announced that motorway service areas and key trunk road locations across the UK are to receive the cabling required to install 1,800 new ultra-rapid charge points.
As drivers make the switch from petrol and diesel to electric, Britain’s cables, substations and other infrastructure need a massive upgrade to support the new demand for electricity. The investment will be delivered in the next two years and is part of a larger plan to ensure that Britain has the necessary energy infrastructure to support the move to low carbon transport and heating while maintaining secure supplies. The magnitude of this investment is expected to be in the order of over £40 billion through Ofgem’s regulation of energy networks.
Every region in Britain should benefit from the announcement, with 204 net zero projects worth £300.5 million across England, Scotland and Wales. These low carbon projects start this year, supporting clean transport and heat, and opening up local electricity grids to take on more low carbon generation.
The announcement will come as welcome news for EV drivers across the UK, which recently surpassed 15,000 charging locations. However, with increasing numbers of EV drivers on UK roads, and high demand for charging devices at these locations, it has long been clear that further investment in charging infrastructure is needed.
In total, there are currently 4,435 rapid charging devices (including ultra-rapid) across the UK, with 596 of these located at motorway service areas. The new 1,800 charging devices enabled by today’s announcement would represent a growth of 40% in rapid charging devices.
At present, there are 944 ultra-rapid charging devices in the UK. 322 of these ultra-rapid devices are found at motorway service areas, with 270 belonging to the Tesla Supercharger network and 52 are ultra-rapid, non-Tesla devices. For instance, a major EV charging site recently opened at Moto Rugby Services, where EV drivers can find 12 ultra-rapid Ecotricity devices and 12 ultra-rapid Tesla Superchargers.
Melanie Shufflebotham, COO & Co-founder of Zap-Map, said:
“Today’s news will speed up Britain’s electric vehicle sector, which is already going at full pelt. Public charging points have increased by 300% within the past five years. This fresh injection of cash will support thousands of rapid chargers, and signals another turning point away from the petrol pump”.
EV drivers can find ultra-rapid chargers at the recently opened Moto Rugby Services.
While electric car ownership is on the rise, Ofgem research has found that 36% of households that do not intend to get an electric vehicle are put off making the switch because of a lack of charging points near their home. An extensive motorway charging network and more charging points in cities and train stations will help to address this ‘range anxiety’. As such, Ofgem is accelerating investment to boost charge point installation.
Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of Ofgem, said:
“This £300 million down payment is just the start of building back a greener energy network, which will see well over £40 billion of investment in Britain’s energy networks in the next seven years.
“The payment will support the rapid take up of electric vehicles which will be vital if Britain is to hit its climate change targets. Drivers need to be confident that they can charge their car quickly when they need to. We’re paving the way for the installation of 1,800 ultra-rapid charge points, tripling the number of these public charge points. Drivers will have more charging options for longer journeys.”
Cities like Glasgow, Kirkwall, Warrington, Llandudno, York and Truro will benefit from increased network capacity to support more ultra-rapid charge points and increased renewable electricity generation. Investment also covers more rural areas with charging points for commuters at train stations in North and Mid Wales and the electrification of the Windermere ferry.
“In the year that Glasgow hosts the COP26 climate summit, the energy networks are rising to the challenge and working with us and partners to accelerate projects that can start now, benefiting consumers, boosting the economy and creating jobs,” Brearley continued.
Rachel Maclean, Transport Minister, commented:
“I warmly welcome today’s news from Ofgem, which will greatly improve the resilience of our charging network as we build back greener.
“With more than 500,000 electric cars now on UK roads, this will help to increase this number even further as drivers continue to make the switch to cleaner, greener vehicles.”