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Electric cars to enter next gear as government doubles funding for charging points on residential streets

Neil Lancefield

Government funding for on-street electric-car charging is to be doubled, transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced.

An extra £2.5m will pay for local authorities to install more than 1,000 additional charge points on residential roads.

The charge points can be built into existing structures such as lampposts, and are aimed at providing access to charging infrastructure near the homes of people without off-street parking.

The money will support the on-street residential charge point scheme, launched in 2017.

Sixteen local authorities have previously signed up to the programme and plan to install 1,200 charge points this year, according to the DfT.

Data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders shows 14,200 pure electric new cars were bought during the first seven months of the year, up 71% compared with the same period in 2018.

These cars now hold a 1% share of the new car market.

But industry experts have warned that demand for pure electric cars will be restricted unless there are significant improvements to the charging infrastructure.

Mr Shapps said: “It’s fantastic that there are now more than 20,000 publicly accessible charge points and double the number of electric vehicle charge points than petrol stations, but we want to do much more.

“It’s vital that electric vehicle drivers feel confident about the availability of charge points near their homes, and that charging an electric car is seen as easy as plugging in a smartphone.

“That’s why we are now doubling the funding available for local authorities to continue building the infrastructure we need to super-charge the zero emission revolution right across the country.”

AA head of roads policy, Jack Cousens, said: “The success of the UK’s electric vehicle revolution hinges on access to charging infrastructure and many neighbourhoods so far feel disconnected.

“This announcement is therefore very welcome news but there is still a long way to go.”

PA