The U.K. is doubling down on electric vehicle charging stations. Well, more than doubling down. The country plans to up the number of charge points to 300,000 by the end of the decade as part of its $2.1 billion strategy to bring EV infrastructure to the masses.
The latest push to add EV charging stations builds on a previously announced fund that set aside $1.25 billion for building out a network on England’s motorways by 2035. At the end of February, just over 400,000 EVs were on the roads in the U.K., while only about 29,600 charge points were available.
With extra funding, the U.K. plans to build more charger hubs and on-street chargers. Some of the new funding will help install these charging points, while a smaller portion will be used to upskill and hire staff who can maintain the growing network. The U.K.’s new objective will also help prepare it for 2030, when it’s set to ban the sale of cars with gas and diesel engines.
“No matter where you live, be that a city center or rural village, the north, south, east or west of the country, we’re powering up the switch to electric and ensuring no one gets left behind in the process,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.
The Department for Transport doesn’t seem too concerned about rising EV prices. Tesla, Rivian and other EV manufacturers have needed to increase the prices of their vehicles in recent weeks as the price of nickel — a key material for producing EV batteries — soared. Tesla also said it needed to bump prices across its entire range between 5% and 10% due to inflation. Despite that, the cost of ownership of an EV works out in the long run for drivers, according to the department.
“EVs still benefit from lower fuel, running and maintenance costs than their petrol and diesel equivalents and the strategy hopes to encourage drivers across the nation to make the switch,” the department said in a statement, adding that it expects production costs to drop eventually.
The U.K. isn't alone in its EV charging network ambitions. The U.S. has set a goal of installing 500,000 charging stations by 2030. The Biden administration set aside $5 billion for every state, plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., earlier this year to build an EV charging network that would ensure no one was ever more than 50 miles from a station. The aim is to reduce anxiety around finding chargers and speed up EV adoption. We’ll know more about what states want to do with that money in August, when governments need to submit a plan.
Some companies are also getting into the EV charging network game. Starbucks (yes, Starbucks) is working with Volvo to create an EV charging network, and Porsche is building its own exclusive charging network. And a public charging network could be on the way soon in the U.S., complete with charging stations you may actually want to spend time at.