EVs – some positive energy

It’s been an exhausting week for climate and transport policy. Whilst the controversy around the Conservatives’ self-declared “war on motorists” will rightly rage, there seems little doubt that the move to electrification of domestic vehicles is one which they accept is inevitable, and ideology aside, makes good financial sense.

After rolling back the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) ban but bringing the zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate into force anyway, the momentum on the electric vehicle (EV) transition is seemingly likely to be maintained, despite the dog-whistle posturing towards the climate-sceptic gallery.

And in a minor victory for pragmatism, some of today’s 30-point plan does seem to be trying to target ways to enable the EV transition and is likely to be welcomed by the chargepoint industry, and those businesses and domestic customers looking to get hold of charging infrastructure.

Here is a summary of Monday’s announcements and our thoughts on these.

  • providing consultation on strategies to expedite the approval process for the installation of EV charging points.

    Where planning is required, additional speed would be great, but properly funding the planning service and finding ways to recruit more planning officers and staff may be the bottleneck here. Extending permitted development rights may make sense for A/c chargers within certain parameters but removing planning controls for large banks of rapids is unlikely.
  • offering focused and specialised assistance to schools for the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations by leveraging existing grant programs.

    If the grants are existing, what is the “dedicated, targeted support”? I suspect that schools may have some other priorities.
  • offering recommendations and instructions on the implementation of secure cross-pavement solutions.

    Yes, but hasn’t this already been done by the Local Government Association (LGA)?
  • expanding the criteria for EV chargepoint grants to encompass pavement or cross-pavement solutions, thereby enhancing the practicality of EV ownership for individuals without access to off-street parking.

    This is a good start but limited to those in houses. Greater focus needs to brought to those in flats and apartments to ensure a wider reach.
  • collaborating with the  industry to dispel misconceptions and address concerns surrounding EVs

    This is a very interesting one.  I think industry is doing a pretty good job at myth-busting.  I’d like DFT to also work with certain sections of the right-wing press with its daily diet of anti-EV drivel, otherwise this is a meaningless commitment.
  • assessing the procedure for grid connections pertaining to EV charging stations, with the goal of expediting the process.

    Clearly this is to be welcomed, but we have heard this before and it’s not an easy one to crack.  Should we, for example, be prioritising EV charging over other new demand connections, which could be homes, care homes, schools and surgeries? 
  • engaging in consultations to broaden the scope of permitted development rights, simplifying and reducing the cost of private chargepoint installations.

    In respect of smaller A/C charging units, this does make sense.

So all in all, some good news for the EV and charging industry with some sensible intention on show.   Time will tell if they can make the tough decisions needed to give substance to the style.





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