UK businesses urge government to expand EV charging network

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【Summary】UK businesses are urging the government to expand the country's electric vehicle (EV) charging network. The UK Electric Fleets Coalition, supported by 21 leading businesses, is calling for measures to ensure the charging infrastructure can accommodate the growing number of EVs and the shift to electric by businesses. Currently, lack of on-street charging infrastructure and access to kerbside charging pose barriers to EV adoption, particularly for fleet businesses.

FutureCar Staff    Nov 16, 2023 10:19 PM 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 businesses' shift to electric vehicles (EVs) and the increasing number of EVs on the country's roads.

Today, 21 leading businesses have expressed their support for the UKEFC's latest policy paper, emphasizing the importance of taking these measures to maintain the momentum of the UK's EV transition.

According to recent data, 30% of UK households do not have access to off-street parking, which means they rely on kerbside infrastructure for charging their vehicles. However, the slow implementation of on-street charging is currently hindered by planning regulations, lack of action from local authorities, and insufficient data and information.

Fleet businesses, in particular, are concerned about the availability of kerbside charging. Company drivers who take their vehicles home face a major obstacle to further EV adoption due to the lack of off-street parking, preventing them from charging their vehicles overnight.

Without the government's recognition of the crucial role that kerbside charging infrastructure must play, 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 have a significant role in driving the transition to EVs and are prepared to take the lead. However, they require clarity and certainty from the government to support their increased investment in EVs, such as the recently confirmed zero emission vehicle mandate that will apply to vehicle sales from next year.

Sandra Roling, Director of Transport at Climate Group, states, "The UK has shown strong leadership on EVs, but it must continue to push forward. Our policy paper clearly outlines the steps the government can take today to facilitate increased business investment in EVs. Businesses need clear signals of ongoing government leadership to support their investments. While we appreciate the clarity regarding the 2024 zero emission vehicle mandate, we were disappointed by the decision to delay the phase-out date for the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 to 2035. With one in six new cars sold in the UK already being zero emission models, we must now create the conditions necessary for a complete transition. The majority of new vehicles in the UK are purchased by businesses like our UKEFC signatories, who have already made ambitious commitments to transition over 750,000 vehicles to electric by 2030."

Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, adds, "With over 29,000 vans, we have the second largest commercial fleet in the UK, and our engineers traveled approximately 280 million miles last year alone to build and maintain our network. We recognize that our fleet has a negative impact on the environment, and we are committed to transitioning to a zero emissions fleet by 2031. It is the right thing to do for our customers, business, and the environment. We have already purchased 2,800 electric vans and installed thousands of chargers at our engineers' homes. However, like other businesses, we continue to face challenges, including the lack of public charging infrastructure and off-street parking, which means that some of our engineers are unable to charge their vans at home. Therefore, it is crucial for the government to step up and ensure that the charging network can support the UK's transition to electric."

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