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£70 million trial to provide ultra-rapid EV charging at motorway services

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, has today announced that The Rapid Charging Fund will provide £70m to be spent on a trial programme which will boost the electrical capacity at 10 motorway service stations to allow the use of ultra-rapid electric vehicle changepoints.

The pilot will fund a portion of the cost of upgrading the electricity grid at motorway service areas where it is not commercially viable to do so, enabling the private sector to install the chargepoints. Motorway services in England only are being invited to apply for funding.

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The objectives of The Rapid Charging Fund are to:

  • enable the market to provide charging infrastructure at strategic locations to support the government’s vision of the transition to a 100% electric car and van fleet
  • address charge anxiety by providing grant funding that will future-proof grid capacity where it is not commercially viable, leading to a greater provision of ultra-rapid chargepoints

The Transport Secretary timed his announcement to coincide with COP28 Transport Day in Dubai, saying: ‘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 £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.’

The Government have set a target of every motorway service station having at least six ultra fast EV chargers by the end of this year but, by the end of May, only 27 of 119 service stations had achieved that target. Some had no ultra fast charging at all.

The importance of having a highly visible and dependable longer-distance charging network to support drivers and accelerate future EV purchases has been recognised and the pilot (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 which is 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 fund.

The consultation is peculiarly looking for comments on:

 

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