To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to (a) reduce the cost of public electric vehicle charging, (b) increase cost transparency at public electric vehicle charging stations, (c) increase the reliability of public electric vehicle charging stations and (d) mandate local authorities to install public electric vehicle charging stations.
The UK is a global front-runner in supporting provision of charging infrastructure. Government has committed £1.3 billion to support the rollout of charging infrastructure. We are supporting rapid chargepoints along motorways and major roads and installing more chargepoints near homes and workplaces to make charging reliable and easy.
The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles provides grants for domestic, workplace and public chargepoints to reduce the up-front costs of purchasing and installing an electric vehicle chargepoint. To further support drivers reduce the cost of charging, in December 2021 we laid legislation to require all new private chargepoints to be able to smart charge. Smart charging during off-peak periods when demand for electricity is lower can help avoid triggering unnecessary network reinforcement work to the electricity grid. Furthermore, this technology helps utilise renewable energy and can benefit consumers with cheaper electricity.
To increase confidence in the charging network and reduce range anxiety the Government consulted in Spring 2021 on using our powers under the Automated Electric Vehicles Act (2018) to improve the consumer experience at public chargepoints. Proposals included opening public chargepoint data; improving the reliability of the network; streamlining the payment methods offered to drivers; and increasing pricing transparency.
Drivers in the UK should expect reliability from the public network. Having chargepoints out of action is inconvenient, frustrating and can be unsafe. We consider that minimum reliability standards are required to drive improvements and hold poor performing chargepoint operators to account. Following consultation, we have announced that we will mandate new standards to ensure reliable charging. We have also announced that we will be mandating a single payment metric so consumers can easily compare the costs across networks which will be in a recognisable format, similar to pence per litre for fuel.
We will publish our full consultation response soon and intend to lay legislation later this year.
Government’s forthcoming EV Infrastructure Strategy will define our vision for the continued roll-out of a world-leading charging infrastructure network across the UK. The strategy will clearly establish Government’s expectations for the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders in the planning and deployment of charging infrastructure.
Local authorities will have a key role in planning and enabling the delivery of chargepoints to meet the needs of their local communities and areas, with particular focus on supporting those who do not have access to off-street parking.
We are working closer than ever with local authorities to encourage uptake of central government funding for electric vehicle chargepoints and ensure more widespread regional and local action in this space. We will continue to work to help mainstream capability and leadership, leading to local action to support zero emission vehicle uptake across every part of the UK.