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Department for Transport spends 15 times more on private EV charging than public

A FairCharge analysis of government spending on electric vehicle charge points has found a huge discrepancy between investment in on and off-street infrastructure. 

New figures have emerged showing that the Department for Transport (DfT) has spent significantly more on private electric vehicle charging points than those available for public use. 

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Overall, the FairCharge assessment has concluded that since the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme began in 2014, total off-street residential charging investment has been £104.5m, paying for 236,697 domestic charging devices. In contrast, on-street residential charge point investment has lagged behind by around 15 times, at just £6.8m, enough to cover the costs of 2,038 devices. This means there are more than 100 times as many private charge points than public. 

The numbers raise serious questions about the UK government’s commitment to helping poorer households transition to non-internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, with a total ban on the sale of new ICE models set to come into place from 2030. FairCharge, which is a grass roots campaign focused on making the EV revolution more accessible, has also pointed to a huge difference in VAT, with public charge points subject to a 20% tax rate, while their private equivalent comes in with a rate of 5%. According to the Resolution Foundation, this means annual fuel costs for EV drivers using off-street devices would be around £139 each year, while those that using the public network would pay £712.

‘Of course, the EVHS has been great in that is has led so many to make the switch to EVs – but it can’t be right that there is such a big a gap between public money spent supporting off-street and on-street charging. Figures like this add to the feeling that some have that EVs are the preserve of the wealthy,’ said former Top Gear presenter and FairCharge leader Quentin Wilson. 

‘If the transition to net zero is to be successful then it must be fair. When it comes to EVs, it just isn’t fair that those who have access to driveways or garages have so much more Government help to support their charging needs than those – on-average much poorer – people who do not. Our FairCharge campaign is aimed at preventing exactly this sort of injustice,’ he continued. 

In related news, the range of EVs available to UK drivers has trebled in the past decade. Meanwhile, a new report has been published warning British policymakers that time is running out to safeguard the country’s place as a leader in EV battery production.

Image credit: CHUTTERSNAP

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