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Government EV charging fund to help 'unleash the power of the market', targeting all geographies and charging speeds

Image: Jaguar Land Rover

Image: Jaguar Land Rover

The government’s EV charging fund is to have a broad scope, looking at “all geographical areas” of the UK, all charging speeds and a variety of use cases.

The £400 million Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund (CIIF), which is managed by Zouk Capital, was formally launched today (7 October 2019). The government is providing £200 million, with the rest to come from private investment.

The maiden investment of £35 million, then matched by the government, was put forward by Masdar last month, helping finance the installation of 3,000 rapid chargers.

However, it’s not only rapid chargers that will be funded.

Samer Salty, managing partner of Zouk Capital, confirmed that the fund intends “to cover as much as possible of the UK’s geography” to ensure that drivers have confidence to travel anywhere.

This was echoed by Philippa Eddie, commercial specialist at the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, who said that from a policy perspective, the plan is to look at “all geographical areas” and “all speeds”, despite the initial investment into rapid chargers. However “ultimately its for Zouk Capital to decide” on where the investment goes and where the remaining private investment comes from.

Simon Clarke, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said that “in order for this to become a viable technology”, the same infrastructure that is available to petrol and diesel drivers must be available for EVs.

“I simply do not see the opportunities outside of the capital that there should be,” Clarke said.

The CIIF was first announced in 2018, and Zouk Capital announced as the government’s preferred bidder to run the fund in February. Zouk has since fully taken the reigns of the fund.

The fund will be looking at “all elements” of public charging infrastructure, Eddie confirmed. This will include destination charging, EV hubs, on street parking, fleet charging and a strategic road network of chargers.

It is also set to support the transition towards net zero, with charging infrastructure being “crucial” to reaching the UK’s goals, Eddie said.

However, the government “can’t solve everything”, Clarke said, adding that “we need to unleash the power of the market”.

Indeed, Masdar itself hasen’t ruled out providing further funding in the future. Mohammed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, said: “I do not believe this will be our last investment in this area, but we will have to see.”

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