That news last August was designed to fund an additional 1000 new charge points, with the focus being on provision for people who want an EV but don't have their own driveway or private parking. This latest cash boost should pay for 3600 chargers on top of the 24,000 that the government lays claim to having supported thus far.
The government's goal is to make it so that 'postcode plays no part in how easy it is to use an electric car'. Reinforcing this message, Grant Shapps said: “We want to make electric cars the new normal and ensuring drivers have convenient places to charge is key to that. By doubling funding again for charge points on streets where people live and opening up data we are helping drivers easily locate and use affordable, reliable charge points whether at home or on the road.”
One of the ways that the government is hoping to make EVs 'the new normal' is in ensuring that with all newly-installed charge points there will be real-time data on their availability which can be integrated with sat navs. Furthermore, it is expected that this new wave of charging infrastructure will accept debit and credit card payments – a commitment the government has made in order to make it not only easier for existing EV owners to plug and juice, but also to remove the subscription system that is a source of confusion for many would-be EV owners.
Future Transport Minister, George Freeman, touched on this, saying: “Supporting the smart use of open data for new apps to help drivers plan journeys, and to reduce congestion and pollution, is key. Comprehensive charge point data is crucial for mapping charging hotspots and 'notspots' for consumers, to help to drive forward the electric vehicle revolution.”
Freeman's comment about the so-called notspots is pertinent given the figures released at the end of last year that showed the areas in the UK lacking in EV charging infrastructure. With the North East, Yorkshire, Wales and Northern Ireland lagging behind the rest of the UK in terms of public charging, you'd hope that councils in those regions would be clamouring for as much of the £10 million as they can get their hands on as possible.
As with the funding that has already been available, local governments can bid for a slice of the funding pie to pay for anything from lamp post-based chargers through to designated bays with standalone chargers. One thing that will warm the cockles of time-poor EV drivers is the fact that should a local government want to, they can use the money to install rapid chargers to supplement the 2400 that have been government-funded so far across the UK.
Whilst the installation of the new charge points is good news on its own, the government's attitude to accessibility through a single app or payment method is potentially the bigger story here in the long run. Since 2011 there has been a National Charge point Registry which every government-funded charge point is added to as soon as it comes online. This data is open-source, which effectively means any app or sat nav developer can integrate it into their software, therefore delivering a better experience to their users. We hope that open-source data along with the single app or payment method filters out into the wider, privately-run charging network as quite simply, it makes owning and running an EV far easier.