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Government misses 2023 target of new electric car chargers near motorway

Government ‘well short of its target’ of at least six high-powered chargers at all motorways by 2023

Neil Lancefield
Tuesday 02 January 2024 05:04 GMT
Related Breakthrough with electric car batteries could reduce charging time to 10 minutes

A government target for electric car chargers near motorways has been missed, new analysis shows.

The Department for Transport (DfT) set an ambition for there to be at least six rapid or ultra-rapid chargers at every motorway service area in England by the end of 2023.

But just 46 out of 119 sites (39 per cent) meet the target, according to RAC analysis of data from charger locator service Zapmap.

The government has fallen well short of its target

Simon Williams, RAC

That is up from 23 per cent at the end of April.

Four locations – Leicester Forest on both sides of the M1, Tebay South on the M6 and Barton Park on the A1(M) – have no charging facilities whatsoever.

Rapid charge points can add 100 miles of range to an electric vehicle (EV) in around 35 minutes.

They are seen as crucial to encouraging more motorists who make long journeys to switch from petrol or diesel to electric.

A DfT document from March 2022 stated that “many operators” of motorway services had “embraced the ambition” to install six high-powered chargers by the end of 2023, with “over 70 per cent” of locations having a plan to deliver this.

It added: “We will continue to work with site operators to ensure that every site is reached.”

The document stated that a £950m rapid charging fund would support the rollout of these chargepoints across England’s motorways and major A roads.

The fund was set to be available for applications from spring 2023 but has not been opened.

A £70m pilot scheme for up to 10 motorway service areas and a consultation on the wider fund were launched in November last year.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “It’s clear from our research that the government has fallen well short of its target of having six high-powered chargers at every motorway service area in England.

“There is undoubtedly an eagerness among chargepoint companies and motorway service operators to install these types of units but unfortunately, it’s often the high-power cabling to the grid that’s the major barrier which is out of their hands.

“More clearly needs to be done to make this process simpler than it is currently.

“Hopefully once the government’s rapid charging fund kicks fully into action, some of these hurdles will be overcome.

“We continue to believe that the wide availability of ultra-rapid charging is crucial in giving both current and future EV drivers confidence to know they can easily make journeys beyond the range of their vehicles in a time-efficient way.”

A DfT spokeswoman said: “The number of public chargepoints is surging across the country and around 96 per cent of motorway services now offer charging facilities for drivers.

“As well as our £70m pilot to help roll out ultra-rapid chargepoints on motorways, we are driving forward the biggest reforms to our electricity grid since the 1950s – halving the time it takes to build networks, and speeding up connections.”

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