This article was originally published by Christopher Carey on Cities Today, the leading news platform on urban mobility and innovation, reaching an international audience of city leaders. For the latest updates follow Cities Today on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube, or sign up for Cities Today News.
The UK government has pledged £20 million (US$27.4 million) to help local authorities install 4,000 on-street electric chargers over the next two years.
The funding, provided through its On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme, will double the amount of government-supported electric chargers to nearly 8,000.
Since the inception of the scheme in 2017, more than 140 local authority projects providing 4,000 charge points have been implemented.
UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Drivers across the country should benefit from the electric vehicle revolution we’re seeing right now.
“With a world-leading charging network, we’re making it easier for more people to switch to electric vehicles, creating healthier neighborhoods and cleaning up our air as we build back greener.”
Petrol and diesel ban
The announcement comes almost three months after the government pledged to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, but doubts linger over whether the pace of charging rollout will meet expected demand.
Electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles accounted for more than 10% of all new car registrations in 2020, more than a threefold increase from 2019.
In its annual Report on Motoring released last month, the RAC found that 9% of 3,000 respondents said they intended to make a switch to electric the next time they change their vehicle – up from 6% in 2019 and 3% a year earlier.
Cost remains a significant barrier, however, with almost eight in ten UK motorists (78%) thinking that electric cars are still too expensive when compared to conventional vehicles of a similar size.
Five times more chargers needed
It also warned that without intervention, rural areas and small towns were at risk of becoming ‘charging blackspots.’
The report made several recommendations for the government to meet the demand, including contracting private firms to install chargers in areas where they are sparse and funding dedicated teams at local councils.
It also said that the maximum price at government-supported chargers should be regulated to avoid providers exploiting local monopolies.
Report author and Policy Exchange Senior Research Fellow Ed Birkett said: “Companies are rolling out charge-points at a record rate, but there’s a risk that some areas of the country won’t get enough charge-points and will be left behind.
“We’re concerned about patchy deployment of charge-points, which runs against the government’s plans for leveling up and a strong and connected Union.”
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