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ChargeUK Unveils Ambitious Manifesto to Expand Charge Point Infrastructure Rapidly




The electric vehicle (EV) charging trade body has unveiled a 12-point plan to accelerate charger deployment and ensure charging networks keep pace with rising demand.


Following Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's unexpected announcement of a General Election on July 4, ChargeUK released "Our Electric Future: ChargeUK's Manifesto for the Next Government," detailing strategic measures to boost charging infrastructure and provide drivers with convenient and affordable charging options.


The manifesto is divided into three key areas. To increase public charger installations, ChargeUK urges the next government to expedite grid connections by establishing a voluntary code with grid operators and revising the street works regime to support timely charger installations. The organization proposes that charge point operators should secure permits for installations instead of applying for Section 50 licenses on Highways England's road network.


Furthermore, ChargeUK advocates extending Permitted Development Rights in England to include essential EV charging infrastructure, such as substations and allowing for increased charger heights, mirroring Scotland's approach.


ChargeUK also calls for renewable electricity to be included in the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, creating a market-based mechanism to encourage private sector investment without burdening taxpayers.


To make EV charging and ownership more accessible and affordable, ChargeUK recommends a five per cent VAT rate for both public and private charging, reforming the electricity wholesale market to foster sustainable, lower-cost electricity generation and enhancing incentives to encourage more Brits to switch to EVs. These proposals echo the auto industry's calls for reduced VAT on public chargers and new EVs, warning that manufacturers may struggle to meet government-imposed EV sales targets without new incentives.


ChargeUK also urges the next government to collaborate with the broader industry and National Highways to develop and widely implement standard charging signage across the Strategic Road Network and significant roads.


To further encourage private sector involvement, ChargeUK calls for urgent clarification on the design of the Rapid Charging Fund to eliminate uncertainty and address market distortions. It also stresses the importance of authorities swiftly deploying local EV infrastructure funding and providing more explicit guidance on resident consultation for charge point site selection.


Lastly, ChargeUK urges the future government to address the recent surge in standing charges, which have caused charge point operator costs to soar by up to 300 per cent, and to engage with the industry as fleet and electric HGV markets evolve.


"There are already 60,000 public charge points available in the UK today. This, combined with over half a million home and workplace chargers, means that today's EV drivers can be sure the charging infrastructure will be there for them," said Vicky Read, CEO at ChargeUK.


"One in three of those public chargers was installed in the last year, underlining the pace with which the rollout is taking place. But ChargeUK's members want to go faster – we know that providing infrastructure ahead of demand is essential if we are to give the UK's future EV drivers the confidence to switch. We also know that our infrastructure has to be easy for drivers to use and that it must be affordable.


"Our manifesto details a comprehensive plan to support the UK's transition to net zero, ensuring convenient and affordable charging for all drivers." 


ChargeUK's 40 members have publicly committed to investing over £6 billion by 2030 to deliver and operate charging infrastructure. This investment is set to create jobs, support economic growth, and power the UK's transition to electric vehicles.


The number of public charge points increased by 45 per cent last year. The National Infrastructure Commission recently stated that the UK is on track to meet the government's target of 300,000 public charge points by 2030.


In related news, plug point provider ChargeGuru has launched its EV charging technology for apartment blocks across the UK in partnership with The Property Institute. This initiative aims to increase the availability of EV charging. Following ChargeGuru's entry into the UK market last March, this launch will expand upon the 16,000-plus buildings across Europe that already use its solution.

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