The UK government has today unveiled almost £40m of investment into electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
A total of £37m ($46m) will be shared between 12 projects which include solar-powered forecourts, underground charging systems and wireless charging.
Today’s announcement news comes on the first anniversary of the government’s Road to Zero strategy that is designed to fast-track clean transport in Britain and which ministers say has already resulted in a 60 per cent increase in battery electric vehicle registrations this year compared to the same period in 2018.
The government’s Future of Mobility Minister Michael Ellis said: “We’re charging up the transport revolution and investing in technologies to transform the experience for electric vehicle drivers.
“Ensuring the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles is reliable and innovative is encouraging more people to join the record numbers of ultra-low emission vehicle users already on UK roads.”
One of companies that has secured funding is Urban Foresight, a smart city consultancy that has been awarded over £3m to roll out ‘pop-up’ chargers which are built into the pavement and provide a discreet, safe and low-cost charging solution for electric vehicle drivers without access to off-street parking.
Working with Urban Foresight, Co-wheels, Duku and Appy Parking, it will deliver the pop-up hubs in Dundee in Scotland and Plymouth in England.
Another is electric charging company Char.gy, which has won over £2.3m for a collaboration with the Open University and the University of Warwick to develop and deploy wireless charging technology on residential streets in three locations in England without the need for trailing cables and additional infrastructure.
Char.gy chief executive Richard Stobart said: “We are excited to show that our ability to retrofit to existing electric vehicles and enable several parking bays per lamp column without the need for cables will accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles.”
Other projects include a scheme to install chargepoints in car parks to allow for mass charging at night; a project leveraging existing Virgin Media physical and online infrastructure to deliver cost-effective and widespread charging, using high speed internet connections to better share information online on charging progress and parking spaces; and a cutting-edge energy storage and advanced electronics project that will deliver semi-rapid charging using a low power grid connection, minimising the need for costly substation upgrades.
Sebastian Speight, Managing Director of Infrastructure at investment group Ingenious, welcomed the the government backing but said that there were uncertainties about the future of EV charging infrastructure in Britain.
“There is a justifiable concern about the drag on the adoption of electric vehicles in the UK due to the limits on the speed of rolling out the associated charging infrastructure.”
Speight added: “There are currently a number of market participants developing and implementing strategies for rolling out charging infrastructure, but there is also a reasonable degree of uncertainty about the future patterns of consumer behaviour, which creates a level of risk in these business models which has a closer fit with strategic or venture capital rather than more traditional infrastructure capital.
“These uncertainties are around the technology type (AC versus DC), charging location and fear of stranded assets and convergence of operating systems. A closer involvement from public stakeholders should enable greater visibility on these risks and increase the availability of private capital.”
European Utility Week will spotlight public and private electric vehicles, examining the challenges and opportunities for the energy system plus sector coupling opportunities between transport and power. Free EV sessions in the Energy Revolutions hub offer the chance to meet engineers, project managers, utilities, renewable generators, European bodies and agencies – all looking to collaborate on the solutions of the future.