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 (DfT) has 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 – which it says takes the country 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: “Whether you’re on the school run or travelling to work, or don’t have access to a private parking space, today’s announcement will bring us one step closer to building and operating a public chargepoint network that is affordable, reliable and accessible for all drivers.
“As the UK accelerates towards net-zero emissions by 2050, we are determined to deliver a world-leading electric vehicle charging network, as we build back greener and support economic growth across the country.”
The 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.
Drivers should also be able to find and access chargepoints easily, so the government is proposing that operators should make location data, power rating and price information more accessible for drivers. This it says is essential for ensuring costs are fair, for driving competition, and for increasing the confidence of both existing electric vehicle drivers and those considering making the switch.
The government says its proposals will ensure that it’s as easy – or even easier – for drivers to charge their car as it is to refuel a petrol or diesel vehicle.
The new investment follows £20 million in funding announced last week for councils to improve the on-street charging infrastructure in their local areas.
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.”