The evolution of national charging infrastructure will be very important for increased adoption rates of electric vehicles in the UK. There are still key issues that need to be addressed to make this a success, from reinforcing residential power grids and deploying smart technologies, to investing in workplace and public charging points. Once EV infrastructure networks are upgraded this will pave the way for the private sector to innovate and create new products and services.
This is the type of challenge that one cannot expect market forces to address on their own – this is a classic case of a “public good” where markets require government help to get to the right answer.
What is required therefore, is a strategic road map to be developed by government and industry. This road map will clarify the type of charging infrastructure the country requires and where key investments need to be made across the power networks (transmission and distribution). It will also set a target roll out timetable and establish the commercial and regulatory framework.
There are of course risks. Given the disruptive impact of technology, it is not difficult to envisage a scenario where advances in inductive and dynamic EV charging make current technology and infrastructure investments rapidly redundant. Equally, how will the £25bn in fuel duty evolve over time? In sum, it is therefore critical to bring government and industry together to agree the way forward and plan a sustainable and comprehensive approach. Failure to do this might not only mean the ‘lights go out’ but the wheels could come off as well.