Guidance on the roll-out of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, including analysis of commercial options, could be released from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) within a few months, according to its head of local delivery.
OZEV's Edward Nelson revealed that a draft version of the document, which he described as a national EV infrastructure strategy, was already in circulation and being reviewed.
‘A national infrastructure strategy will be coming hopefully in the next few months, which will set out in detail what the plan is for the roll-out of the charging infrastructure. Providing more clarity for local authorities,’ Mr Nelson told delegates at the ADEPT traffic managers conference this month.
Speaking to Transport Network, Mr Nelson discussed the potential for income opportunities for councils from local commercial arrangements but described the situation as ‘a bit of a slow burn’.
‘It depends on your relationship and procurement relationship with the charging operator. There are various ways in which you draw up the contract. It might vary as per how much skin you have in the game. If you have government funding and some funding of your own you might be able to leverage better outcomes such as dictating tariffs. There should be revenue from charging.’
Mr Nelson added that revenue might have to go back into the maintenance of the system.
A £90m Local EV Infrastructure Fund, is due to be launched by the summer of 2022 to support the roll-out of larger on-street charging schemes and rapid charging hubs across England.
Mr Nelson conceded that there was a capacity capability challenge for local authorities, especially around on-street charging.
‘A key policy area is around people who don’t have off-street parking. We know 30-40% of UK residents do not have off-street parking and will need reliable, affordable public charging infrastructure. Around 90% of EV drivers report needing to use the public charging network.’
He added that there is no statutory duty to provide EV infrastructure at the moment. However, an ongoing government consultation has proposed introducing one.
‘Local authorities have a critical role in ensuring holistic strategies are in place for chargepoint roll-out. This will involve assessing levels of need and establishing a relationship with the chargepoint industry to deliver charging infrastructure,’ Mr Nelson said, giving an indication of what might become the statutory burden on councils should one be imposed.
He also reiterated a government commitment to change building regulations to require all new homes to have an EV chargepoint as well as non-residential properties with more than 10 parking spaces, adding that all home chargepoints will be smart to help with energy distribution and different price settings.
‘We have been in the world of early adopters up to now. To go into more mass markets, the user experience is very important, this includes helping people find chargepoints, making sure they are not broken.’
OZEV is a joint unit of the UK Government, reporting to the transport and business departments.
On the national network, National Highways has made progress on installing chargepoints at service stations. It is also supporting the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles in its delivery of Project Rapid, which is supported by a £950m fund for future-proofing grid capacity along motorways and key A roads.
National Highways chief executive Nick Harris said: 'Motorway service areas are rapidly improving but our focus does need to be on how we can do more on the A roads to improve charging points. We are working with the operators at the motorway service areas and other commercial providers. And now we are working with the Department for Transport on the development of Project Rapid, which aims to get the electricity supply into the locations where private operators can then put charging points.
‘Looking at our own challenge as National Highways we are rapidly changing our fleet to electric or hybrid vehicles. I have the same challenge as everyone else getting charging points into our depots and outstations but that is the challenge we have to take on.'