UK businesses urge government to expand EV charging network

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【Summary】UK businesses are calling on the government to expand the country's electric vehicle (EV) charging network. The UK Electric Fleets Coalition (UKEFC) argues that the charging infrastructure must be able to support the growing number of EVs on the road and businesses' ambitions to transition to electric. Currently, a lack of on-street charging infrastructure, planning rules, local authority inaction, and limited data and information hinder the roll-out of EV charging.

FutureCar Staff    Nov 16, 2023 5:17 AM PT
UK businesses urge government to expand EV charging network

The UK Electric Fleets Coalition (UKEFC), managed by the international non-profit Climate Group, is calling on the government to ensure that the UK's charging network is capable of supporting the increasing number of businesses transitioning to electric vehicles (EVs) and the growing number of EVs on the roads. In a new policy paper published today, the UKEFC has received support from 21 leading businesses, who argue that taking these steps will help maintain the momentum of the UK's EV transition.

A significant challenge in the adoption of EVs is that 30% of UK households do not have access to off-street parking, requiring kerbside infrastructure for charging. The slow roll-out of on-street charging is attributed to factors such as planning rules, lack of action from local authorities, and insufficient data and information.

Fleet businesses are particularly concerned about access to kerbside charging. For company drivers who take their vehicles home, the lack of off-street parking hinders further EV uptake as it prevents overnight charging. Without the government acknowledging the crucial role of kerbside charging infrastructure, UK businesses cannot invest in EVs at the necessary speed and scale to meet their own commitments.

As the majority of new vehicle purchases are made by company fleets, UK businesses play a key role in the transition to EVs and are ready to lead. However, they require clarity and certainty from the government to support their increased investment in EVs. This includes the zero-emission vehicle mandate, which has been confirmed to apply to vehicle sales from next year.

Sandra Roling, Director of Transport at Climate Group, emphasizes the need for continued government leadership in the EV sector. While welcoming the clarity around the 2024 zero-emission vehicle mandate, she expresses disappointment in the decision to push back the phase-out date for the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 to 2035. With 1 in 6 new cars in the UK already being zero-emission models, the focus now needs to be on creating the conditions for a complete transition. The majority of new vehicles in the UK are purchased by businesses like those in the UKEFC, who have committed to transitioning over 750,000 vehicles to electric by 2030.

Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, highlights the commitment of his company to switch to a zero-emissions fleet by 2031. With over 29,000 vans, Openreach has the second largest commercial fleet in the UK. While they have made progress by purchasing 2,800 electric vans and installing chargers at engineers' homes, challenges remain. The lack of public charging infrastructure and off-street parking prevents some engineers from charging their vans at home. Selley emphasizes the importance of the government stepping up to ensure that the charging network can support the UK's transition to electric vehicles.

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