Government vision for electric vehicle charging points


As part of the UK’s commitment to reducing climate change, the government has set out its vision for a network of rapid chargepoints for electric vehicles.

A new policy paper announced a consultation to bring forward the end of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans to 2035, or earlier if a faster transition is feasible. An extensive infrastructure of public charging points across motorways and major A roads is a key part of the transition.

Chargepoints in 2020

Currently, a driver is never more than 25 miles away from a rapid (50 kilowatt) chargepoint anywhere along England’s motorways and major A roads, with a total of 809 open-access rapid chargepoints, as of 1 January 2020. This includes an average of 2 rapid chargepoints at motorway service areas with more being rolled out over the next year.

£500 million commitment to extending the infrastructure

The Rapid Charging Fund is part of a £500 million commitment announced in the March budget, towards EV charging infrastructure. The government aims to ensure that there is a comprehensive rapid-charging network available ahead of need.

The new funding will provide for the extension of the chargepoint network to strategic sites across the road network where upgrading connections is prohibitively expensive and uncommercial.

By 2023, the government aim to have at least 6 high powered, open access chargepoints (150 - 350 kilowatt capable) at motorway service areas in England, with some larger sites having as many as 10-12.

These high powered chargepoints are able to charge up to 3 times faster than most of the chargepoints currently in place and can deliver around 120-145 miles of range in just 15 minutes for a typical electric vehicle.

By 2030, the government is planning for around 2,500 high powered chargepoints across England’s motorways and major A roads, rising to 6,000 by 2035.

To help support early adoption of electric vehicles and remove range anxiety concerns for drivers on long journeys, the government aims for chargepoints to be easy to use and hassle-free:

  • Drivers can pay for the cost of charging their vehicle using debit or credit card payment
  • There will be clear pricing information available in pence per kilowatt hour
  • Information about the chargepoints on motorways will be openly available, helping drivers choose when, where and how they charge
  • Chargepoints will be available 99% of the time
  • Drivers will be supported by 24/7 customer care to handle any technical issues
  • Sites will have chargepoints that support all types of electric vehicles
  • There will be clear pricing information available in pence per kilowatt hour

For a typical electric vehicle with a battery size of 62kWh, and a range of 200-240 miles, a 15-minute charge at a 150 kilowatt chargepoint would deliver a range of 120-145 miles.

Tesla Superchargers excluded from ‘open access’ figures

The government have defined ‘open access’ as not-for-proprietary-use for specific makes of vehicles, so the figure for open access chargepoints excludes Tesla Superchargers.

The role of local authorities

Local authorities have been urged to take advantage of electric car funding. Data released in 'league tables' reveals that London is currently leading the electric vehicle infrastructure revolution nationally, with over 4,000 charging points. Scotland has more than 1,500 charging devices, with the North West, South East and South West regions just behind. In these regions, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, and Milton Keynes are amongst the best performing local authorities.

Transport for London are appealing to road users to switch by highlighting the financial benefits:

  • Zero emission-capable vehicles that meet the criteria are eligible for a 100% discount on the Congestion Charge.
  • There is a range of tax incentives for business users.
  • Government grants for new plug-in vehicles, currently up to £3,500 for cars, £1,500 for motorcycles, £8,000 for vans and £7,500 for taxis.
  • Some London boroughs offer free or reduced-charge parking for electric vehicles.
  • Zero emission capable vehicles pay either no vehicle tax (VED) or a reduced rate depending on their CO2 emissions, vehicle list price and year of registration.