The government’s target of at least six rapid or ultra-rapid chargepoints installed at every motorway service area in England by the close of 2023 has been missed by 61%.
According to new research by the RAC, just 46 of the 119 motorway services it reviewed on Zapmap have the target number of EV (electric vehicle) chargers above 50kW.
The breakdown insurance company revealed that 18 service areas have no charging above 50kW, with four – Leicester Forest on both sides of the M1, Tebay South on the M6, and Barton Park on the A1(M) – having no charging infrastructure at all.
The six or more rapid chargepoint by the end of 2023 target was set by the government within its ‘Taking charge: the electric vehicle infrastructure strategy,’ which was published on 25 March 2022.
Echoing several reports at the time on the slow rollout of EV chargepoints, the strategy gave the road network a £950 million boost through the Rapid Charging Fund, to tackle range anxiety, giving drivers the confidence to use their EV’s for long distance journeys.
Over a year later, in December 2023, the government announced additional grants of £70 million for up to ten trial sites in England to upgrade EV charging offerings.
The funding was announced by Transport Secretary Mark Harper in Dubai on COP28 Transport Day.
In more positive news, the RAC revealed that motorway services in England now boast over 400 ultra-rapid chargers, which means that 55% can now offer faster charging. Additionally, 178 high-powered chargepoints have been installed since the end of Spring 2023.
Overall 70% of all high-powered charging at motorway services is ultra-rapid.
“It’s clear from our research that the government has fallen well short of its target of having six high-powered chargers at every motorway service area in England. While that’s the case, some very good progress has been made since the end of April when we last carried out our survey, with four-in-10 services (39%) now having met or exceeded the target number of chargers, compared to just under a quarter (23%) eight months ago,” said RAC EV spokesperson, Simon Williams.
“There is undoubtedly an eagerness among charge point companies and motorway service operators to install these types of units but unfortunately, it’s often the high-power cabling to the grid that’s the major barrier which is out of their hands.
“More clearly needs to be done to make this process simpler than it is currently. Hopefully once the government’s Rapid Charging Fund kicks fully into action some of these hurdles will be overcome.”