Ofgem has announced it will pay for motorways service areas to receive new cabling for 1,800 rapid chargers and it will also fund 1,750 chargers in urban areas.
Ofgem, the non-ministerial Government department responsible for regulating the UK’s gas and electricity markets, say it hopes the investment will help prevent range anxiety.
A recent report by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) found that while demand for electric vehicles is growing in the UK - accounting for one in 10 car registrations last year - it was mainly fuelled by businesses or buyers of fleets.
So far, the installation of charging points has mainly been concentrated in London and the South East. Ofgem said the investment by energy networks would support more ultra-rapid charge points in cities such as Glasgow, Kirkwall, Warrington, Llandudno, York and Truro.
The installation of these chargers comes as part of a £300.5 million investment in 204 net zero projects across England, Scotland and Wales.
Research by Ofgem suggests 36 per cent of households that don’t intend to purchase an electric car are being put off by a lack of public charge points near their home.
There are currently 918 ultra-rapid charge points in the UK which can add a range of 100 miles to an electric car in around 30 minutes.
In total, the UK has nearly 24,000 charging points, which have more than 41,000 connectors - or cables - that can be plugged into an electric car, according to electric vehicle app and website Zap-Map. That's less than half the number available in the Netherlands, but a similar number to France and Germany. The number of charging points in the UK has doubled since 2018.
The Ofgem package is part of a £40 billion overall clean energy investment, more funding from which is due to be released after 2022.
Rachel Maclean MP, minister for the future of transport, said the investment would “greatly improve the resilience” of the UK’s EV charging network. Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of Ofgem, added that it would give drivers “more charging options for longer journeys”.
While the number of charging points in the UK is growing, it is still far short of the estimated 2.7 million the SMMT said the country would need by 2030, the vast majority of which need to be available for people who park their cars on a nearby street at home.
"Drivers need certainty that they can recharge their vehicle conveniently and on demand," it said. "For many, that means using a charging point at home.
"However, at least one in three households rely on on-street parking as they have no driveway or garage and still more have no designated off-street parking."
The SMMT said that to accommodate these drivers there must be a commitment to expand on-street public charging in residential areas.
Boost for jobs
The news comes alongside another announcement from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) of a £166.5 million investment into green technology.
The programme, which is expected to create 60,000 jobs, includes a £60 million investment into hydrogen production, which BEIS says can be used for powering transport, among other things.
Energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the scheme “will encourage the rapid development of the technologies we need to reign in our emissions and transition to a green economy - one that reduces costs for business, boosts investment and creates jobs”.