The UK government has launched new measures to support electric vehicle drivers from its Plan for Drivers, including grants for schools, cash for councils and new proposals to boost chargepoint numbers.
Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Anthony Browne will launch support for greener schools in Nottinghamshire, with a new grant providing up to 75% of the cost to buy and install chargepoints, up to £2,500 per socket, up from the previous £350.
Paid for by the Department for Transport, this grant is integrated into the Workplace Freight Scheme. It is aimed at educational institutions such as schools, colleges, nurseries and state-supported academies, with the aim of improving charging facilities for staff and visitors. It also provides an opportunity for schools to generate revenue by making their charging points available to the public.
According to the government, the school’s grant is for state-funded schools and education institutions, which must have dedicated off-street parking facilities – applications can be made online. Independent schools may apply for funding through the Workplace Charging Scheme and the Electric vehicle infrastructure grant for SMEs.
In addition, the government is also delivering the £381 million Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) Fund to local authorities across the country. The first capital payments for charging projects have been approved to 3 local authorities from East Sussex to North Yorkshire, and 2 London boroughs, bringing the total funding for these areas to more than £14.2million. The funding will support the installation of thousands of new chargers, ensuring the rollout continues at pace to support drivers in every area of the country.
Through the LEVI capability funding, almost 100 dedicated EV officers have been newly recruited to support chargepoint procurement. To aid local authorities in building a skilled workforce and delivering their charging projects, the government is also launching the electric vehicle infrastructure (EVI) training course for their officers, which will open to all local authorities from mid-March following a successful trial.
“We’re getting on with delivering our Plan for Drivers, and this latest set of measures will mean EV owners everywhere benefit from easier and more convenient access to chargepoints.” highlighted the Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Anthony Browne said. “This government has already spent over £2billion to ensure a smooth switch to EVs, and we’re committed to supporting drivers as we transition towards net zero in a proportionate way that doesn’t burden working people.”
Browne also highlighted the growing phenomenon of drivers opting for electric vehicles. According to industry statistics, all-electric vehicles are expected to make up more than 16% of the new car market in the UK by 2023. The current number of plug-in vehicles in the country has exceeded 1.2 million, with 770,000 being fully electric, signaling a significant transition towards sustainable mobility.
Furthermore, in response to this shift, the government, in collaboration with industry, is making strategic investments in electric vehicle infrastructure. According to Bowne, this aims not only to meet climate change commitments, but also to chart an equitable path towards carbon neutrality, avoiding unnecessary financial burdens on households.
The minister emphasized that recently, new laws were implemented to facilitate and ensure more accessible and reliable public charging for electric vehicle drivers. These laws require transparency in charging point pricing, facilitating comparison, and promote contactless payment options at a significant proportion of new public charging points. With more than 53,000 charging points already installed across the UK, the progress made in the transition to electric mobility is evident.
These measures come following the UK’s world-leading path to reaching zero emission vehicles by 2035 coming into effect earlier this year. The zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate requires 80% of new cars and 70% of new vans sold in Great Britain to be zero emission by 2030, providing certainty to consumers and industry – helping speed up the rollout of chargepoints.