£70m boost for EV charging trials at motorway services

Image by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

A £70m pilot scheme is to power up motorway service areas to pave the way for ultra-rapid electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints.

Speaking on COP28 Transport Day in Dubai, Transport Secretary Mark Harper laid out plans for up to 10 trial sites in England with boosted electrical network capacity – ensuring electricity network capacity is future-proofed for at least 10 years, to 2035.

The rapid chargepoint announcement, part of the government’s rapid charging fund (RCF), will cover a portion of the costs of upgrading the electricity grid at successful motorway service areas, ensuring that the private sector can continue to expand the charging network and providing consumers more confidence to choose EVs.

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, said: “This government is on the side of drivers and working with the private sector to provide robust chargepoint infrastructure is part of our Plan for Drivers, with today’s announcement paving the way for more ultra-rapid chargepoints.

“This £70m 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.”

Motorway service areas are strategically important as regularly spaced stopping points along the motorway.

Investment here addresses the need for a highly visible and dependable longer-distance charging network to support drivers and accelerate future EV purchases. 

The pilot, which is being delivered by National Highways, will help gather evidence to inform the design of a full fund.

Today also sees the launch of a 10-week rapid charging fund consultation seeking views from a range of stakeholders, including chargepoint operators, motorway service area operators and electricity suppliers, on where chargers are needed most and how best to design the RCF.

Alongside the pilot launch, the UK and the US are teaming up to announce a competition to develop green shipping corridors between both countries. 

Launching next year, the initiative builds upon the UK’s successful partnerships with the likes of Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands, solidifying the journey towards zero-emission shipping.

UK Chamber of Shipping CEO, Sarah Treseder, said: “Green shipping corridors will play an important part in decarbonising shipping, especially on major routes such as the UK and US.

“To be successful, they require dedicated infrastructure across the corridor to ensure that vessels can access low and zero emission fuels, as well as facilities such as shoreside power. 

“We look forward to working with the UK and US governments, as well as those involved in the competition, to turn this project into a blueprint for how to create a successful green corridor.”

COP28 UAE began on November 30 and runs until December 12 at Expo City, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. 

The United Nations climate change conferences are yearly conferences and serve as the formal meeting to negotiate and agree action on how to tackle climate change, limit emissions and halt global warming.

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