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Shaun Sadlier's blog: A charging issue

Date: 07 December 2017

One factor holding fleets back from wider adoption of electric vehicles is the development of the charging infrastructure. While it is possible to see signs that it is growing gradually, there needs to be a significant expansion if EVs are going to become a substantial element of the overall vehicle parc.

One of the encouraging aspects of the recent Budget was that the Government is showing signs of dealing with this issue with a raft of measures designed to boost availability of chargers.

The most visible of these was a £400m Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund. However, what was perhaps more interesting were a range of moves that will integrate charging infrastructure into general Government activity. These included updating building regulations to mandate that all new residential developments contain enabling cabling for chargepoints in homes, changing roadworks guidance for local authorities so that infrastructure is installed when works are happening, and providing greater emphasis on the delivery of chargepoints at rail stations as part of the franchising process.

Interestingly for fleets, also announced was a Benefit in Kind exemption for employees charging electric vehicles at work, to come into effect April 2018.

All of this sounds impressive but there is a question mark over whether it is enough to make a noticeable difference to EV adoption, especially in the short-medium term. This is very difficult to assess but what is perhaps most important is that policy is heading in the right direction and we are hopeful that these measures will be followed by further moves in the future.

The next big Government reveal regarding EVs and infrastructure will be in March 2018 when information will be released about official zero emissions road transport strategy. We await further details with interest.