£56m UK boost for charging points
The UK government is finally recognising the issue of the slow rollout of charging points for electric vehicles, with three schemes to boost availability.
The funding will boost the current Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) pilot, boost the existing On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) and provide more help to local government to install chargers. This will help deliver up to a further 2,400 chargepoints set to be installed in the short term, while working to support local councils to deliver tens of thousands more in the long term says a government minister.
However these are still pilot schemes: in addition to expanding three of the original LEVI pilot schemes, there are also 16 new pilot scheme areas.
“It is great to see the government making a real commitment to the EV rollout, however, if it wants to make it a viable option for consumers to use electrical vehicles, they must ensure that charging points meet the demands of electric vehicle sales,” said Justin Godfrey-Cass, Head of Transport Solutions at Wireless Logic.
“The EV charge point rollout has been hampered by planning constraints, cost of installation, need for access, and, the need for resilient and highly secure two-way connectivity in locations where wired infrastructure isn’t always readily available. The whole process can take weeks, making it hard for councils to keep up with the demand of EV sales.
However previous efforts to boost charger roll out such as a standard design have failed. The connectivity is also key.
“As the EV charge point rollout begins to take form, it will ultimately represent critical national infrastructure to the public and businesses, so the importance of having secure connectivity cannot be overlooked,” said Godfrey-Cass. “It isn’t enough to simply install thousands of charge points, consumer expect a charge point to be fully operational and keep their data secure. The government and companies involved must make this top-priority. Equipment managers and charge point operators (CPOs) need to ensure secure, resilient, and reliable connectivity that allows them to monitor charging points effectively remotely.
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“Massive EV adoption also presents a significant load-balancing challenge for energy service providers. As charge points are rolled out it becomes harder and harder to track whether devices are a load or a source of power on the network. Managing fluctuations and preventing power surges will only get more difficult increasing the risk of possible power outages. Service providers need to be able to monitor operational performance and control remote assets to schedule charging cycles or determine when EVs are charging or discharging to help address the imbalance in the grid.”
In total, £22 million of government funding for the pilot areas is supported by an additional £17 million of private funding, and £2 million from public funds across local authorities.
In addition to expanding the pilot scheme, today also sees the launch of the £8 million LEVI Capability Fund which will equip local authorities with the skills and ambition to scale up their plans when it comes to their charging strategy.
The funding will help local authorities work in tandem with private business and chargepoint operators to drive the sustainable growth of local networks, building and utilising their collective knowledge and expertise to deliver the most ambitious chargepoint plans for their area.
The government is also bringing forward a further £7 million funding for the existing On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme, bringing the total funding this year to £37 million. Three thousand chargepoints have already been installed under ORCS with a further 10,000 in the pipeline.
The government says it has already spent over £2 billion to support the move to zero emission vehicles, helping drive forward the decarbonisation of the UK’s entire transport system.