The U.K. has been consistently vocal on its stand to reduce the use of conventional vehicles and proliferate the use of electric vehicles (EVs). In this context, the U.K. government has issued regulations developed based on open consultation, proposing the installation of EV charge points in all new residential and non-residential buildings built in the country. Furthermore, all existing non-residential buildings are now required to add EV charge points to their infrastructure.
In the impact assessment (IA) document, the Department for Transport (DfT) detailed that the intervention was necessary to “address the harmful impacts caused by emissions from internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEs) and meet legally binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.”
The £1.5 billion ($1,861,874) Road to Zero strategy was begun by the government in 2018. It is an ambitious plan that sets targets that at least 50 percent of all new cars and up to 40 percent of new vans be ultra-low emission by 2030. The air quality plan effectively ends the sale of new cars and vans that run by petrol or diesel by 2040.
To stand a chance to meet this target, the U.K. government will have to take aggressive measures to increase the use of EVs on the roads. This includes the development of a network of charging infrastructure delivered at the least possible cost to the exchequer.
“Charging at home and overnight is currently preferred by EV owners due to convenience and lower costs. It is anticipated that charging at home and overnight will be the preferred mode of charging in the future; however, home builders do not install the necessary charging infrastructure at the point of construction, which would be cheaper than retrofitting charging infrastructure at a later date,” said DfT in the IA document. “The transition to EVs is likely to result in significant retrofit costs in residential dwellings which could be avoided with regulation.”
Currently, EV users are eligible for up to a £500 rebate off the cost of installing a charge point at home. To date, the government has installed close to 100,000 domestic charge points through the grant support measures.
There also have been measures to ensure that these charge points come with “smart charging” options, which let EVs charge at different times of the day based on when electricity tariffs are cheaper. For instance, many cities have lower electricity tariffs during the night, which can help save money for EV users if they charge their vehicles after dark.
Several of the U.K.’s major cities suffer from excessive air pollution from perennially clogged city roads. They battle the issue in different ways. For instance, London has planned to introduce ultra-low emissions zones (ULEZ) by 2021 that will restrict older and polluting cars from entering those zones, making them pay £12.50 per day to use the zones if they must.
The U.K. is investing £1 billion in increasing the use of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), which includes £100 million towards the U.K. charging infrastructure and in funding grants for plug-in cars and vans. Separate initiatives have also been planned to introduce “green” buses, retrofitting old buses with new and cleaner technology, and even promoting cycling and walking by providing dedicated road infrastructure.