£50 million boost to charge up electric vehicle revolution

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Small businesses and those in leasehold and rented accommodation are set to benefit from up to £50 million to install electric vehicle chargepoints.

The Department for Transport announced that the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), which provides up to £350 towards a chargepoint, will continue next year and be expanded to target people in rented and leasehold accommodation.

At the same time, the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) will be opened up to small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and the charity sector, providing a boost as staff return to work. The changes will also mean that small accommodation businesses, such as B&Bs can benefit from the funding, boosting rural areas, and tackling the ‘range anxiety’ associated with long journeys.

This investment comes as the department launches a consultation on improving the charging experience – simplifying payments and increasing reliability – taking us a step closer to delivering on the commitment to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030.

Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said: “This announcement will bring us one step closer to building and operating a public chargepoint network that is affordable, reliable and accessible for all drivers.”

The government consultation suggests simplifying payment at chargepoints, meaning electric vehicle drivers can use contactless payment but do not have to download an app. It also seeks to make chargepoints more reliable and to force operators to provide a 24/7 call helpline for drivers.

The government wants drivers to find and access chargepoints easily. It is proposing that operators should make location data, power rating and price information more accessible for drivers.”

The news of the latest investment follows £20 million in funding announced last week for councils to improve the on-street charging infrastructure in their local areas, and is part of a suite of measures the government is taking to accelerate electric vehicle uptake and decarbonise transport.

CEO of Co Charger, Joel Teague, said: “From a Co Charger point of view, this announcement is particularly welcome because it will put more chargepoints into homes and businesses where they can be shared with their neighbourhoods. Dependable, affordable charging while at home or work is essential for people to make the switch to electric motoring, and by sharing these newly funded chargepoints communities will be able to meet that need.”

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chair, Mike Cherry, said: “It’s great to see the Department for Transport putting businesses front and centre as part of the UK’s mission to achieve net-zero by 2050.

“Small businesses want to play a critical role in helping the UK reach its green targets, and electric vehicles are the future. That’s why this is important news for the nation, particularly rural areas which are often left behind.”