House of Commons Library

Electric vehicles and infrastructure

Published Thursday, August 31, 2017

This paper explains what electric vehicles are and how successive governments have planned for infrastructure to encourage and accommodate their growth. It also sets out the various grant streams that have been allocated for the same purpose.

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Since 2009 UK governments of all parties have sought to provide a framework in which electric vehicles, or ‘ultra low emission vehicles’ (ULEVs) can grow. The decarbonisation of both private cars and goods and passenger carrying vehicles is seen as critical to helping the UK achieve its climate change obligations and to improving air quality, particularly in cities such as London.

The present Government believes that infrastructure is best planned and delivered locally by public authorities, businesses and individuals and provides various grants for those purposes. It makes available separate vehicle grants for private cars, taxis and buses. It also delivers locally-focused packages of funding in partnership with the motor industry as part of the ‘Go Ultra Low’ cities scheme.

In 2016-17 it consulted on and legislated for powers to allow the Government to regulate the EV industry if necessary in future years, improve the consumer experience of charging infrastructure, ensure provision at key strategic locations like Motorway Service Areas (MSAs), and require that charge points have ‘smart’ capability. The legislation fell before the 2017 General Election. We expect similar provision to be introduced in a forthcoming Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill. This has not yet been published.

Zap Map shows all the current charging points across the UK. It can be filtered by postcode or other location.

Commons Library briefings on other road transport, energy and environmental issues can be found on the Parliament website.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7480

Author: Louise Butcher

Topics: Research and innovation, Roads

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