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Government pledges £70 million to boost roll-out of ultra-rapid EV chargers

07 December 2023

The UK Government has announced a £70 million pilot scheme aimed at powering up motorway service areas with ultra-rapid EV charge points at COP28.

(Image: Shutterstock)
(Image: Shutterstock)

The new scheme aims to increase the number of ultra-rapid charge points at motorway services significantly, stimulating private investment and increasing consumer confidence in buying EVs.

 Launched in conjunction with the COP28 Transport Day on 6 December, the pilot plan will see up to 10 trial sites in England with upgraded electrical network capacity.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper expressed the significance of the scheme, stating, "This Government is on the side of drivers, and working with the private sector to provide robust charge point infrastructure is part of our Plan for Drivers, with today’s announcement paving the way for more ultra-rapid charge points.

"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."

Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Anthony Browne added, "This is an important next step in our journey to net zero and demonstrates the government’s commitment to help the private sector expand our charging network."

The pilot scheme, part of the Government's Rapid Charging Fund (RCF),  recognises the crucial role of motorway service areas in providing a highly visible and dependable longer-distance charging network, which will support drivers and help accelerate future EV purchases. 

National Highways will spearhead the project, with the aim of future-proofing the electrical network capacity at these sites for at least a decade, aligning with the Government's revised deadline for the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2035.

In conjunction with the pilot launch, the UK and the US have joined forces to announce a competition to develop green shipping corridors between both countries. This initiative builds on the UK's successful partnerships with other nations and aims to establish dedicated infrastructure for vessels to access low- and zero-emission fuels.

The launch of a new global zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) transition roadmap also accompanies the pilot scheme. This roadmap aims to enhance understanding and accessibility, while laying out the financing available to developing economies and new markets. The UK Government is seeking annual updates at future COP events to ensure global inclusivity in the transition to cleaner travel.

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