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The government have ‘spent nothing on national charging infrastructure’: Dale Vince

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Eco-warrior Dale Vince insists the government needs to do more to support the electric car industry after it was revealed Stroud has the highest number of electric car charging points in the county.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in November that wholly-powered petrol and diesel cars will no longer be sold in the UK from 2030 as part of the ‘green industrial revolution’ to tackle climate change, saying the government plans to ‘invest more than £2.8 billion in electric vehicles, lacing the land with charging points’.

However, Ecotricity chief and Forest Green owner Dale Vince insists the Prime Minister’s pledge is wide of the mark.

He said: “So far, the government have spent nothing on national charging infrastructure despite announcing multi-billion pound plans every few months, while estimates of £18bn required for all electricity pumps we will need are made by thinktanks that don’t understand the technology.

“Modern electric cars can be used much like a fossil powered car, just pop to a filling station every week or two.”

There was a record increase in demand for electric car home charging grants in 2020, according to figures from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles.

Across the country more than 42,000 grants for home charging devices were made last year, worth nearly £17m, which was over a quarter of the value of grants since the government launched the scheme in 2014.

Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) grants provide 75 per cent of the cost of installing electric vehicle devices at domestic properties in the UK.

Gloucestershire has had 1,902 charging devices installed since the scheme launched in 2014, with £986,537 given in grants.

Stroud had 95 charging points installed at domestic properties in 2020, up from 68 the previous year. The total number of charging points at domestic residencies stands at 302.

And Vince added: “Stroud leads the way on green stuff – we all know this.  The electric car revolution is now well underway – all major manufacturers have announced end dates for the production of fossil powered cars, which began years before the government’s much touted ‘ban’ on new sales in 2030 – and was led by car companies.”

The south east leads the UK for the highest percentage of devices under the EVHS – 735 grants per 100,000 homes. However, the grant take-up is not evenly spread, with Northern Ireland at the other end with 319 per 100,000.

Figures show new electric vehicle registrations rocketed in 2020, hitting 87 per cent growth for alternative fuel vehicles. Total vehicle registrations dropped 27 per cent during 2020, with diesel vehicles being particularly badly hit, down 51 per cent.

Greg Wilson, Quotezone.co.uk’s Founder said: “Easy access to recharging points is crucial to meeting the government’s ambitious targets for electric vehicle use, but there is much work to do to meet the government’s plans. Research suggests that an investment of £16.7bn is needed on the public charging infrastructure alone – excluding local grid network updates.”

“While grant funding take-up for charging devices shot up last year, it will need to increase to ensure that more than two million new vehicles sold each year can access electric charging points as the 2030 deadline draws closer.”

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