According to the RAC, the target to install a certain number of motorway electric vehicle charging points, specifically high-powered ones, has not been met. Guidelines issued by the government said that by the end of 2023, every single motorway service station in England should offer six ultra-rapid or rapid charges to drivers. However, the calculations and analysis carried out by the RAC demonstrate that only four in ten have actually managed to meet these criteria.
Some Charging Offered in Most Services
There are basic facilities at nearly every motorway service station in England, but the plan to make sure that everyone had access to ultra-rapid and rapid charges was designed to help motorists. Drivers are only able to stop for so long during a journey, and the slower the charging, the less confidence they are going to have that they can actually make the mileage they need to finish their journey.
The statistics come from a survey carried out by the RAC, looking at ZapMap, which locates electric vehicle charging points. Looking only at motorway services, the data determined that there were 178 fast charges installed at various locations between April 2023 and December 2023. But out of the 119 service stations, only 46 can offer the required allocation of six high-powered charging points. In just 35 minutes, these rapid charging points are able to give drivers 100-mile confidence. Two service stations, Barton Park, which is on the A1 and Leicester Forest, which is on the M1, do not have any rapid charging points. Other services have one or two but do not meet the criteria for having six installed.
The government is aware of the issue, and in November, it announced a funding scheme specifically to boost the number of rapid and ultra-rapid charging points in English service stations. The spokesperson for the RAC, Simon Williams, said, "There is undoubtedly an eagerness among charge point companies and motorway service operators to install these types of units, but unfortunately, it's often the high-power cabling to the grid that's the major barrier which is out of their hands. More clearly needs to be done to make this process simpler than it is currently."
The Department for Transport also has its own statement saying, "The number of public charge points is surging across the country, and around 96% of motorway services now offer charging facilities for drivers. As well as our £70m pilot to help roll out ultra-rapid charge points on motorways, we are driving forward the biggest reforms to our electricity grid since the 1950s - halving the time it takes to build networks and speeding up connections."
Finally, the UK head of Polster, who is a Swedish electric vehicle company, Jonathan Goodman, said that encouraging people to use electric vehicles is crucial to getting a better charging infrastructure in place. He also said that it should be simple to get planning permission to install charges. Otherwise, there are very few incentives for business owners to take the plunge.