UK motorways to get 1,800 new car charging points in £300m green investment

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WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 22: Electric vehicles are displayed before a news conference with White House Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg about the American Jobs Plan and to highlight electric vehicles at Union Station near Capitol Hill on April 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Biden administration has proposed over $170 billion in spending to boost the production of zero-emission buses and cars and increase the number of EV charging stations. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
As drivers make the switch from petrol and diesel to electric, Britain's cables, substations and other infrastructure need a massive upgrade to support this new demand for electricity, Ofgem said. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

UK energy market regulator Ofgem has announced plans to invest £300m ($435.1m) in more than 200 low-carbon projects to aid the nation's push towards net-zero emissions.

The regulator said the move to "rewire Britain" will get the UK ready for more electric transport and heat. 

The new infrastructure investments will include 1,800 new ultra-rapid charging points at motorway service areas, which would triple the current network. Another 1,750 charge points will be built in towns and cities. 

"The payment will support the rapid take up of electric vehicles, which will be vital if Britain is to hit its climate change targets," said Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of Ofgem.

"Drivers need to be confident that they can charge their car quickly when they need to. We're paving the way for the installation of 1,800 ultra-rapid charge points, tripling the number of these public charge points. Drivers will have more charging options for longer journeys."

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As drivers make the switch from petrol and diesel to electric, Britain's cables, substations and other infrastructure need a massive upgrade to support the new demand for electricity. 

Ofgem's £300m announcement is part of a broader investment programme, with £40bn already confirmed and more to follow in 2022.

While electric car ownership is on the rise, Ofgem said many prospective owners were put off by a lack of charging points near their home. 

The new investment will covers more rural areas, including charging points for commuters at train stations in North and Mid Wales.

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The UK has set an ambitious target to become a net zero emission country by 2050. Last year Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the sale of fully petrol or diesel cars would be banned in Britain from 2030. The decisions — while bold — is part of a global shift away from fuel-powered cars.

Auto makers have been rapidly pivoting to electric in response. Lamborghini said last week it plans to phase out combustion engines in its cars by 2024. It follows carmakers such as Ford (F), Jaguar Land Rover and Tesla (TSLA) in moving towards an all-electric offering.

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