Government releases new electric vehicle infrastructure strategy

Back in March 2022 the UK Government announced its new Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Strategy. It details the vision and action plan of the government for the rollout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the UK. According to the government, they intend to achieve the EV infrastructure goals before the phase-out dates. The vision is to end the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 and for all new vans and cars to achieve zero emissions by 2035.

Undoubtedly, there is an increase in the number of electric vehicles on UK roads. However, making a good number of electric vehicle charging points available is a huge challenge. The Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Strategy policy paper states that the government will strive to make at least 300,000 public charging points available by 2030.

Here are some EV stats:

Currently, there are over 30,000 public charging stations across 19,000 locations across the UK (as on March 2022).
Of these, over 5,400 are public fast charging stations spread over 3,300 locations.
600 EV chargers are added to UK roads every month
100 of the newly-added EV chargers are fast chargers.
The current EV charging infrastructure serves the needs of around 750,000 plug-in vehicles.

What Areas Do The Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Strategy Focus On

1.  Easy Access To Dependable Public Charging Points

The government wants everyone to have access to reliable public charge points near them. At present, there are considerable disparities in the deployment of charging infrastructure. The present charging point rollout is mostly market-led and not strategically placed.

The new policy aims to overcome these issues and ensure that EVs have quick access to public charging stations without searching for them.

2.  On And Off-Street Charging For All Drivers
The government wants to provide effortless on and off-street charging for private drivers and businesses. At present many EV users charge their vehicles from home regularly. However, this may not be a choice for all. The policy paper aims to give EV drivers quick access to powerful charging points wherever they are located. They can enjoy both off-street and on-street charging options.

3.  Creating A Network of Advanced EV Chargers
The new policy aims to establish a reliable network of powerful EV charge points along major roads. For EV drivers, this indicates a broader choice. They can fast charge on long journeys and need not invest in expensive electric cars with the bigger batteries and the longer range.

4.  Economical Public Charging Facilities
The new policy commits to providing affordable, inclusively designed public charging facilities. It ensures that EV drivers can access affordable and reasonably priced public charging. It also plans to offer standards for disability access.

5.  Integrated Smart Energy System
The new policy also focuses on seamlessly incorporating EV infrastructure into a smart energy system. It will have features that optimise EV charging infrastructure. By incorporating smart charging into existing EV charging systems, drivers can enjoy multiple benefits, such as better energy demand management and reduced EV charging cost.

6.  A closer look at the new Electric Vehicle Infrastructure strategy shows that the government acknowledges that electric cars are the future of UK roads. A carefully structured action plan is imperative to ensure that this transition is carried out fairly and smoothly. The new EV charging infrastructure policy takes into account all these aspects.

In terms of what this means to the leasehold sector…..
Officials from the DfT, seem to understand the incompatibility between the level of grant (at 75%) and the inability of most landlords (due to lease terms) to recover from service charge payers the balance between grant and actual cost, the grant remains at 75%.  However, the Future of Transport Regulatory Review – which is examining areas where transport law is either outdated or a barrier to innovation is ongoing. In particular the Review Team have been looking at what powers might need to be introduced in order that the government’s aspirations for the charging of EVs can be better realised and particularly so in the residential sector. 

So on behalf of so many of our Clients as leaseholders we can but hope that the concerns of the leasehold sector will be taken into account in this review and that changes will be made to the level of grant or (as has happened in the non-residential sector) so that landlords can adapt to modern requirements.  Although the grant remains at 75%, the one thing that has happened as promised, is the introduction of an on-line application process which was rolled out of 4 August 2022 and which incorporates a number of changes which we proposed to the DfT’s consultants (Capgemini) last year.   The sad fact remains that little use can be made of the grant at its current level.