Western Power Distribution (WPD) has launched its electric vehicle (EV) strategy following a request from Ofgem for network operators to publish how they are preparing for the rollout of EVs.

The distribution network operator’s (DNO’s) business plan predicts that 217,000 chargers will be connected to its network by 2023.

The strategy has been developed in consultation with a number of other organisations including local authorities, government departments, the Welsh government, Go Ultra Low cities, house builders, vehicle manufacturers and fleet operators.

The plan covers connections to 130kW rapid chargers that provide a 35kWh charge in 15 minutes at public charging points, which will usually require investment in a new transformer.

It also covers domestic chargers that take around seven hours to provide the same level of charge but often require no network upgrades.

In its “Road to Zero” paper, published last July, the Department for Transport set out its next steps for implementing the government’s pledge to phase out the sale of diesel and petrol cars, vans and motorcycles by 2040.

WPD says that the faster uptake of EVs required to meet the 2040 target means it will have more than three million EVs in its area by 2023.

A number of factors govern EV adoption at present. These include price, range and divers’ confidence in availability of charging points.

Paul Jewell, policy manager at WPD said: “On average, an EV uses the same volume of electricity as a domestic house.

“At WPD we’re used to designing networks for housing so it’s a case of adapting our existing methodologies to ensure EV charging can be accommodated in the most efficient and economic way.

“We do not want today’s purchasers of new properties to be faced with service upgrades in the future because we did not think ahead.”

According to new research from Deloitte, pure EVs are expected to become as cheap to own and operate as their petrol and diesel equivalents on a worldwide basis by as early as 2022.

The tipping point in the UK is forecast to come a year earlier in 2021, thanks in part to a £3,500 grant from the government for EV purchases. In the absence of this subsidy, the milestone would be set back by three years to 2024.

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