The Department for Transport has launched a £70 million pilot scheme to support the expansion of ultra-rapid electric vehicle charge points at UK motorway service stations.
Announced at the United Nations’ COP28 conference in Dubai, the scheme will support financing for up to ten trial sites in England by covering “a portion” of the costs of upgrading the electricity grid at the chosen service stations.
Speaking at COP28, Transport Secretary Mark Hopper said: “This £70 million pilot scheme is the starting point and sends a message to consumers and industry that we are investing wisely and rapidly to grow the future of transport in the UK.”
The pilot scheme forms part of the government’s Rapid Charging Fund (RCF), and the government has said that the pilot would be used to gather evidence to inform the design of a full fund.
On the same day as the pilot launch, the Department for Transport launched a 10-week consultation for the RCF, seeking input from stakeholders on the best design for the fund and the areas where chargers are needed most.
This week, the government confirmed that the UK has surpassed 50,000 public EV chargers, one sixth of its 300,000 charger target by 2030. Current reported last month that the UK energy industry was ‘extremely encouraged’ by the Chancellor’s Autumn statement, particularly as it pertained to EV charging. Jeremy Hunt revealed plans to reform the planning system for business and infrastructure projects to support low-carbon developments and prioritise EV charging.
The COP28 conference ended this week with a final decision that was met with both approval and criticism. The renewable energy industry in particular praised the inclusion of a global commitment to tripling renewables deployments, but the language around a “transition away” from fossil fuels was met with concern by industry representatives. Read more on the reaction to COP28’s final outcome on our sister site, PV Tech.