Charge points for electric vehicles (EVs) at motorway service areas and large fuel retailers will be required under new laws, revealed in the Queen’s Speech.
Legislation to deal with Brexit dominated the Government’s plans, but there was also support for autonomous cars and EVs in the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill.
It will require the installation of charge points for electric vehicles at motorway service areas and large fuel retailers, and to require a set of common technical and operational standards. This will ensure charge points are convenient to access and work seamlessly right across the UK, says the Government.
It says it also plans to extend compulsory motor vehicle insurance to cover the use of automated vehicles, to ensure compensation claims continue to be paid quickly, fairly and easily, in line with longstanding insurance practice, says the Government.
The provisions would apply to England, Wales and Scotland.
InstaVolt has welcomed the announcement around EV charging. The Basingstoke-based firm, which installs and maintains rapid charging points, says forecourts have long held the key to unlocking a better charging infrastructure.
CEO Tim Payne said: “We fully support any initiative that will lead to an increase in electric vehicle chargers at motorway services and petrol stations. With their accessibility and strategic locations along busy routes, they’ve long held the potential to be at the forefront of electric vehicle charging.
“Considering a large percentage of the population is unable to charge EVs at home, it’s never been more important to create an easily accessible public charging infrastructure. Today’s news will go some way to doing that and ultimately help encourage greater take-up of electric vehicles.”
Currently around 30% of UK households don’t have access to off-street parking. InstaVolt says that means there are more than eight million potential buyers are unlikely to buy an EV unless it’s easier to charge in public places.
The company, which signed a multimillion pound deal with ChargePoint in May, is installing 3,000 rapid chargers at petrol forecourts, supermarkets and other accessible locations across the UK. The Rapid Plus charging units can add hundreds of miles of range in just 20 minutes and, unlike many other charging points, they will be free to use on a pay-as-you-go basis, with no subscription and no membership card.
Payne said: “If we can improve access to rapid charging in public, people will be much more confident in buying and driving electric vehicles. Forecourt traders play an even bigger role than I think any of us have given them credit for in this bid to increase use of electric vehicles. It’s therefore very positive news that the Government is bringing in measures to introduce more charging points there.”
However, Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), called for “clarity” over the definition of ‘large retailers’.
He said: “The measure forms part of a Government push to increase the number of electric vehicles on UK roads. However the PRA is concerned this could place an unreasonable financial burden on independent fuel retailers who feel there is insufficient market demand to justify the investment at this time.
“The PRA recommends that the Government introduces a centralised, monetary fund allowing for private businesses to apply for grants which will underwrite such speculative investment in rapid charge equipment.”
LeasePlan UK's managing director, Matt Dyer said: “It's promising to hear that the Government is set to invest in the UK electric car infrastructure, the foundation is crucial as electric vehicles take an even bigger position in the UK.
"The vehicle rental and leasing industry contributes £30 billion a year to the UK economy and in 2016 the leasing industry accounted for over of half the number of new cars registered on the road.
"The SMMT has already reported that the percentage of electric vehicles has seen a steep increase with over 4% of new registrations in 2017 being Alternatively Fuelled Vehicles (AFV) compared to 3% in the whole of 2016. So, this news will be especially pleasing for UK businesses, who are beginning to invest in electric vehicles for their fleet choice.”
Alphabet’s chief operating officer, Matt Sutherland, says the real detail around ultra-low emission vehicles for fleets will be in the autumn budget. He said: "The fleet industry is seeking clarity from the Government about the taxation framework around company vehicles beyond April 2020, so that businesses can effectively plan their longer-term mobility strategies and further support the movement towards ULEVs which is still in its early stages."
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