There are around 30,000 EV chargers in the UK today. But by 2030, if the government has its way, there will be 10 times as many. It has committed £1.6 billion ($2.1 billion) to its new Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy to make that happen. Once implemented, there will be 5 times as many EV chargers as there are fuel pumps in the UK today, according to a government press release.
Upgrades to the current charging network will focus on fast charging stations along major highways for those traveling long distances, but also include plans for more on-street chargers to meet the needs who do not have access to chargers where they live, according to Engadget.
An important part of the new policy is the inclusion of mandates that will allow EV drivers to make contactless payments for charging, compare pricing, and use apps to find EV chargers. To address the issue of non-functioning chargers, the regulations will require a 99% reliability rate for any new chargers installed as part of this new program. The UK will ban the sale of new vehicles powered by fossil fuels by 2030, so a more expansive charging network will be vital to making that happen.
In a statement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “We’re powering ahead with plans to help British people go electric, with our expanding charging network making journeys easier right across the country. Clean transport isn’t just better for the environment, but is another way we can drive down our dependence on external energy supplies. It will also create new high-skilled jobs for our automotive and energy sectors and ultimately secure more sustainable and affordable motoring for all.”
Transport secretary Grant Shapps added, “No matter where you live — be that a city center or rural village, the north, south, east or west of the country — we’re powering up the switch to electric and ensuring no one gets left behind in the process. The scale of the climate challenge ahead of us all is well known and decarbonizing transport is at the very heart of our agenda. That’s why we’re ensuring the country is EV-fit for future generations by the end of this decade, revolutionizing our charging network and putting the consumer first.”
Along with the environmental benefits of EVs, the government touted the plan as a way to create jobs and reduce the UK’s dependency on foreign sources of energy and oil. As is the case elsewhere, prices of gas and home energy have increased in the UK since Russia invaded Ukraine last month. Access to Russian oil and energy suppliers has been banned as part of the economic sanctions against Russia for its aggression.
While reactionaries and fossil fuel adherents in the US quaver the thought of government programs to increase the pace of the EV revolution, the UK and other nations are facing the future and making plans responsible to transition to low carbon emissions. The point many detractors miss is, these expenditures are not costs, they are investments. Those who fail to invest in the future will be decimated by it.
Time is short and the need is great. The free market types would have expected Adam Smith’s unseen hand to save the Titanic from sinking. Thinking like that may work in the hallowed halls of academe, but they don’t work in real life.
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