Ministers have ‘launched’ a £400m fund to accelerate electric vehicle charging, nearly two years after the cash was first announced and over a year since bids for the fund went live.
The Treasury described the move as part of a package of over £500m new investment in green technologies.
It said it had ‘launched a £400 million fund to bolster Britain’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure, with the first £70 million allocated for 3,000 charge points – more than doubling the number across the UK to 5,000’.
The then chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced the £400m at the (autumn) Budget 2017. The fund is made up of £200m of government investment, which he said was to be matched by £200m from the private sector.
In July last year the Treasury announced that bidding had opened for the management of the fund, with a fund manager to be appointed to raise and manage it on its behalf.
In February it said that following the request for proposals, infrastructure and private equity fund manager Zouk Capital, 'is entering into exclusive negotiations to manage the fund'.
‘Subject to negotiations, it is expected that the fund will launch in Spring 2019,’ officials said.
On Tuesday, the Treasury said the initial £70m investment has been provided by government and Masdar, also known as the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: 'It’s fantastic there is already a rapid chargepoint at almost every motorway service station, and now more charging stations than petrol stations. But I want to see thousands more chargepoints installed across the UK.
'This fund will help drum up further investment in charging infrastructure from the private sector, so charging an electric car becomes as easy as plugging in a smart phone.'
Officials said rapid charge points can recharge a typical car in as little as 20 minutes, compared to ‘existing technology’, which can take 40 minutes, ‘making the reality of driving electric vehicles easier and more accessible for people across the country’.
The Treasury said the initial £70m is an investment into InstaVolt in order to deliver the 3,000 new rapid charge points.