The government has rejected a call by MPs to draw up a national strategy for rolling out charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs).
In its report on EVs, published in October, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) select committee warned the government that relying on councils and network operators to develop charge points could lead to gaps in charging infrastructure.
But the government’s response to the report, published last Friday (11 January), says that a national strategy is not required.
It says: “Given the range of activity already underway and steps already taken, combined with the work being led by Ofgem to design a supportive regulatory regime for network investment, the government is not convinced that a further strategy is needed at this stage and risks distracting from existing efforts.”
It says there are “encouraging signs” that the market-led approach to the rollout of charging infrastructure is working with more than 15,000 publicly accessible charge points installed by the end of November and “many more” in the pipeline. Of the chargepoints already installed, more than a tenth are fast chargers.
These include applications from 26 local authorities to install more than 1,000 chargepoints, which it says have already been submitted to the Department for Transport’s “Go Ultra Low Cities” scheme.
A review of the on-street residential scheme, which is available to councils that want to install charge points for drivers of EVs, will be carried out this summer.
In addition, the response says the government will be launching a consultation early this year on changing the building regulations to ensure that every new home has a charge point as well as minimum standards for non-residential buildings.
This will be backed up by guidance for the revised National Policy Planning Framework, published last year, which requires planners to take into account adequate provision of charge points when deciding whether to grant consent for developments.
And it says the Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce, which brings the government together with the energy and automotive industries to ensure the power system can meet future demand for future EV uptake, is also due to report in 2019.
The response states that the government does not want to intervene “unnecessarily” in the EV market because of the risk of stifling innovation and hindering competition.
But it says there is a “strong case” for bringing forward regulations to mandate smart capability for all charge-points with proposals for consultation due to be published in the New Year.
The response also admits that the transition to a phase out of petrol and diesel cars could be achieved before the government’s target date of 2040.
It says ministers will review progress towards it ambition to phase out sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2025.
“The transition could conceivably happen much quicker than 2040 and the government wants to set the right framework to encourage people to choose the cleanest vehicles.”