Industry calls for better electric van charging as government invests £56m - Select Van Leasing
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Industry calls for better electric van charging as government invests £56M

The UK government has pledged additional funding to increase electric vehicle charge points across the country, but there are calls to ensure new installations are suitable for electric vans as well as cars. 

In total, £22 million of government funding for the pilot areas is supported by an additional £17 million of private funding and £2 million from public funds across local authorities. An £8 million Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) Capability Fund, which will equip local authorities with the skills and ambition to scale up their plans, has also been launched. 

The government is also bringing forward £7 million of funding for the existing On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (OCRS), bringing the total funding this year to £56 million.

The funding, announced by Transport Minister Jesse Norman, will help deliver up to 2,400 additional charge points while also working to support local councils to deliver tens of thousands more in the long term.

The funding will expand the current LEVI pilot and boost the existing ORCS. Councils will receive help to develop in-house expertise and capability to coordinate charge point plans and to work with private operators to deliver a more comprehensive and reliable network of charge points for drivers. 

Three thousand charge points have already been installed under ORCS, with a further 10,000 in the pipeline.

Despite the investment announcement, trade body Logistics UK is reminding the government that it must create provisions for commercial vehicles if the industry is to be able to accelerate its transition to Net Zero.

Logistics UK’s senior policy manager Denise Beedell explained that while the new investment and promised charge points are a “much-needed step forwards on the route to Net Zero,” it’s essential to ensure that future developments consider the needs of van drivers.

“Local authorities must ensure that any new public EV charge point installation and infrastructure provide adequate electric vehicle charging infrastructure with sufficient space for use by commercial vehicles,” commented Beedell. 

“An immediate uplift in the number of public charge points that can be used by battery electric vans, and a recognition of the future needs of battery electric trucks, is vital to give the logistics sector the confidence to invest in zero emission at the tailpipe vehicles.” 

While Department for Transport figures showed that there were 34,637 charge points in the UK by the end of October 2022, the UK Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy report predicts that there will be a requirement of at least 300,000 sites by 2030, so there is still plenty of work to be done.

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David Hughes

Friday, 17/05/2024