Government set to miss target for electric vehicle chargers

The Government is set to miss its target for the installation of high-powered electric vehicle (EV) chargers at motorway services in England, according to new analysis.

In March last year the Department for Transport (DfT) pledged to “ensure that every motorway service area has at least six rapid chargers by the end of 2023”.

But RAC research shows only 27 out of 119 motorway services in England currently meet that target.

It stated that fitting high-powered chargers is “not straightforward” and urged ministers to “make this process simpler”.

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

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

The RAC analysis is based on statistics from charger locator service Zapmap.

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%” 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.”

RAC EV spokesman Simon Williams said: “Our findings show there is much work to be done before the end of the year if the Government’s target is to be met.

“Installing these types of units is not straightforward as connecting to the electricity grid is expensive and time consuming, but clearly more needs to be done to make this process simpler than it is currently.

“While we understand the Government is taking steps to expedite matters, the importance of ensuring sufficient high-powered charging is readily available up and down our motorway network can’t be emphasised enough.

“A lack of charging facilities is rapidly becoming one of the most widely quoted reasons for drivers not going electric.

“All parties involved in making installations happen must work together to overcome this obstacle.”

Quentin Willson, automotive journalist and founder of EV campaign group FairCharge, said: “When you look at how quickly Tesla put their Superchargers into the motorway service network, you’re forced to wonder why the Government is working at such glacial speed to do the same.

“We simply must pick up the pace.”

The sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned in the UK from 2030.

A DfT spokesperson said: “While 97% of motorways service areas already have charging available, industry has plans to install many 100s more chargepoints in the coming months.

“We‘ve put more than £2bn into accelerating the transition to electric vehicles, and our £950m Rapid Charging Fund will further boost charging to support long distance journeys, including at motorway services.”