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RAC Says Government’s Ultra-Rapid EV Charging Targets Have Failed

RAC Says Government’s Ultra-Rapid EV Charging Targets Have Failed
02 January 2024

Targets for every motorway service station in England to have at least six rapid chargers above 50kW by the end of 2023 have failed, according to data from RAC and Zapmap.

Reviews carried out on 21 December 2023 by the RAC show that just 46 of 119 motorway services on Zapmap have the target number of high-power chargers. These can charge an electric vehicle in around 30 minutes, compared to an average charge point which would take around an hour.

Only 18 service areas have no rapid charging above 50kW, but four have no charging facilities whatsoever: Leicester Forest on both sides of the M1, Tebay South on the M6, and Barton Park on the A1(M).

However, 178 high-powered chargers were installed at motorway services in England in 2023, and there are now more than 400 ultra-rapid chargers at services, meaning more than half of facilities can now offer rapid charging for electric vehicles. 

In March 2022, the government acknowledged that EV charging infrastructure had to improve, pledging to increase the availability of rapid EV charging by ensuring that every motorway service area in England has at least six rapid chargers by the end of 2023. However, it wasn’t until early December 2023 that it was announced that £70 million in grants would become available for a pilot scheme involving upgrades at ten motorway service stations.

RAC EV spokesperson Simon Williams said: “It’s clear from our research that the government has fallen well short of its target of having six high-powered chargers at every motorway service area in England. While that’s the case, some very good progress has been made since the end of April when we last carried out our survey, with four-in-10 services (39 per cent) now having met or exceeded the target number of chargers, compared to just under a quarter (23 per cent) eight months ago.

“There is undoubtedly an eagerness among charge point companies and motorway service operators to install these types of units but unfortunately, it’s often the high-power cabling to the grid that’s the major barrier which is out of their hands.

“More clearly needs to be done to make this process simpler than it is currently. Hopefully once the government’s Rapid Charging Fund kicks fully into action some of these hurdles will be overcome.”

Picture: a photograph of car, plugged into an electric charger. Image Credit: Unsplash

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 02 January 2024


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