UK government increases funding for electric charge points to $13 million

Key Points
  • Electric vehicles face challenges, not least when it comes to perceptions surrounding range and charging infrastructure.
  • "We want to make electric cars the new normal" says Grant Shapps, the U.K.'s transport secretary. 
GP: Electric car charging night
nrqemi | iStock | Getty Images

The U.K. government is set to double the funding for the installation of electric vehicle charge points on residential streets to £10 million ($13.06 million).

In an announcement Tuesday, the government said the money – which will be for installations next year – could fund up to 3,600 charging points.

"We want to make electric cars the new normal, and ensuring drivers have convenient places to charge is key to that," said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in a statement.

At the moment, there are over 24,000 publicly available charge points, the government said, with more than 2,400 of these classed as "rapid" charge points.

Authorities also said they were looking at ways of providing information on public charge points, such as power ratings and locations, "openly available in a standard format."

They will examine how real-time information – if charge points are working or in use, for example – could be published. This data could in turn be used in tools such as route-mapping apps and sat navs.

New car registrations in the U.K. fell by 2.4% in 2019, according to recent figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), with demand for new cars at a six-year low, according to the organization's chief executive.

While the outlook is challenging, battery electric vehicle registrations grew to 37,850 in 2019, an increase of 144% compared to 2018, when 15,510 were registered, according to the SMMT. Hybrid electric vehicle registrations increased by 17.1% to 97,850 units.

Though these figures looked encouraging to advocates of these low emission vehicles, their prevalence in the U.K. is still small compared to petrol and diesel cars. Electric vehicles face challenges, not least when it comes to perceptions surrounding range and charging infrastructure.

The market share for battery electric vehicles in 2019 was just 1.6%, while hybrid electric vehicles had a 4.2% share. At the other end of the spectrum, petrol had a market share of 64.8%, while diesel was 25.2%.