The legislation was announced formally by prime minister Boris Johnson at an otherwise gaffe-ridden speech – almost universally described by media as “bizarre” – at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) annual conference.
Excerpts from Johnson’s speech, published by Downing Street ahead of his appearance, said: “This is a pivotal moment; we cannot go on as we are. We have to adapt our economy to the green industrial revolution. We have to use our massive investment in science and technology and we have to raise our productivity and then we have to get out your way. We must regulate less or better and take advantage of new freedoms.
“We will require new homes and buildings to have EV charging points – with another 145,000 charging points to be installed thanks to these regulations. We are investing in new projects to turn wind power into hydrogen and our net zero strategy is expected to trigger about £90bn of private sector investment, driving the creation of high-wage, high-skilled jobs as part of our mission to unite and level-up across the country.”
Johnson said that not only will new homes, supermarkets and workplaces in England have the charging points installed, but also those undergoing major renovations and which have more than 10 parking spaces. He said that the UK can gain advantages from acting first to transition to an electrified transport sector.
Downing Street described the move to introduce the legislation as “world-leading” and said that it hoped charging an EV would become as easy as filling up with petrol or diesel.
It said, after consulting with industry, it plans to make it easier and simpler for people to go electric, by introducing simpler ways to pay whilst travelling, such as contactless, at all new fast and rapid charge points.
The government has brought forward a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2030. It has previously supported the installation of 250,000 home and workplace charging points, although legislators, academics, and industry have repeatedly called for an accelerated rollout of EV infrastructure; a report from the Policy Exchange think tank earlier this year said the UK must ramp up EV charging point installation by five times the current rate if the plan to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 is to be achieved.
Alan McCleave, regional manager at NewMotion, commented: “In order to improve the user experience and thereby further encourage EV adoption, EV charging needs to be prioritised, and this move is getting the country one step closer to mass EV adoption of EVs […] While this new initiative is proof that policy support will be vital for effective charging infrastructure, we must also see greater collaboration amongst charging solution providers across the UK to achieve this target, with interoperability at the core of this.”
At ‘Transport Day’ at Cop26 in Glasgow earlier this month, a group of over 100 countries, companies, states and cities committed to phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. However, some of the most important players were notably absent from the list of signatories, including the two largest car markets (the US and China) and automakers (Toyota and Volkswagen).