Auto industry bosses demand coordinated charging station plan

Auto industry bosses have called for a nationally coordinated plan to develop electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including binding targets to expand the supply of charging stations.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has released a new report highlighting how the UK car industry has invested £10.8billion in electrification over the past decade – but it has warned that the investment was unmatched in infrastructure.

Mike Hawes, the head of SMMT, said: “We need to focus on load anxiety.”

He added: “Ten years ago there were only six EVs on the market, so they were about one in every 1,700 new car sales. Today it’s 140 EVs, with another 55 coming. This year, one in six cars sold in the UK is purely electric.

“Despite this, the government imposes incredibly strict regulations on the industry. 2035 is the end of the sale of non-zero emission cars, with vans discontinued by 2040. This year we will have a zero-emission vehicle mandate, something that will seek to dictate the pace of future market transition, despite the fact that this market is rapidly changing.

“As an industry, we are ready to meet this challenge, but we cannot meet the needs of society without another regulation: the right to charge.”

According to reports in the FinancialTimes, ministers are expected to announce an infrastructure strategy on Friday that is expected to address pricing issues. He also reported that BP will invest an additional £1bn in electric vehicle charging stations in support of the plan.

SMMT data shows there is one fast charger for every 32 battery electric vehicles sold in the UK, and while this is in line with other countries, Hawes noted the ratio is getting worse as EV sales rise. exceeded load point growth. He said this was particularly crucial given that one in three UK households have no off-street parking and are therefore unable to install home charging stations.

He added: “We need faster chargers to meet the surge in sales. Even more critical is the need to invest more in public charging to bring this network up to speed in order to cope with this transition which is taking place. accelerating rapidly. That’s why we’re calling for a national plan to get the right chargers in the right place, and that has binding targets on infrastructure to match those we have as an industry.”

The SMMT wants the pricing plan to be nationally coordinated and locally delivered, and overseen by a regulator.

The SMMT said investment in the production of electric car batteries is also essential for future growth. The £10.7 billion investment figure calculated by SMMT includes production commitments to new battery “gigafactories” which are expected to take total annual battery production in the UK to 41 GWh by 2027. The UK needs around 60 GWh of battery generation capacity by 2030.