Highways England on track to meet electric vehicle charging goal by summer 2019

Highways England is on track to reach its targets for deployment of electric vehicle chargers next summer after revealing that 83% of its network is within 20 miles of a charger.

The government body set a target of ensuring 95% of its strategic road network was served by an electric vehicle charger within this distance by 2020. This work is being carried out as part of a £15 billion investment promised in a road investment strategy up to 2021.

Through a programme of grant initiatives, collaboration with local authorities and use of a specialist framework of suppliers, the former Highways Agency has made significant progress towards this target.

In addition, plans are already in place to deliver the remaining chargers as a Highways England spokesman explained to Current±.

“We continue to work collaboratively with local authorities to provide grants to install charge points on local authority land, which will help us achieve a further 4% of coverage towards our commitment. We anticipate this could be achieved by summer 2019.

“We will be awarding a specialist framework for the installation of a further 65 rapid chargers, again by summer 2019, to provide a further 8% coverage.”

Much attention has been placed on the provision of EV charging infrastructure on UK roads, with a perceived lack of public chargers often named as the biggest barrier to increased EV take-up.

Aside from the Highways England deployment strategy, very little central government activity has been seen to be tackling these concerns, with local authorities and planners left decide how and when to deploy chargers.

This recently prompted representatives from the likes of Nissan, BMW and Toyota to tell MPs that central planning is “essential” to delivering “a road map of highway infrastructure”.

However, HM Treasury has this week launched a request for proposals from potential fund managers to take on its £400 million charging infrastructure fund, which will seek to finance a significant roll-out of new charge points as well as meet the costs of the technology and grid connections needed to do so.

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