Ofgem approves £300m upgrade for electric vehicle charging expansion

Energy regulator Ofgem has approved a £300 million upgrade which will be used to expand and upgrade the UK’s electric car charging network. 

It said that the funding, which is part of a wider £40 billion investment, will be put towards more than 200 low-carbon projects across the UK enabling the country to prepare for increased usage of electric vehicles

In addition, it will partly support the installation of cables needed to launch ‘1,800 ultra-rapid charge points’, tripling the current network in the process. 

Directed by Ofgem, the upgrades will use investment from the Energy Networks Association (ENA) which represents the UK and Ireland’s energy networks businesses. 

Areas such as Glasgow, Kirkwall, Warrington, Llandudno, York and Truro will all directly benefit from increased network capacity brought as a result of the investment. 

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

“Drivers need to be confident that they can charge their car quickly when they need to.

“In the year that Glasgow hosts the Cop26 climate summit, the energy networks are rising to the challenge and working with us and partners to accelerate projects that can start now, benefiting consumers, boosting the economy and creating jobs.”

Transport minister Rachel Maclean said: “I warmly welcome today’s news from Ofgem, which will greatly improve the resilience of our charging network as we build back greener.

“With more than 500,000 electric cars now on UK roads, this will help to increase this number even further as drivers continue to make the switch to cleaner, greener vehicles.”

David Smith, chief executive of Energy Networks Association (ENA), said: “With just a few months left until Cop26 we are delighted to have been able to bring forward such a crucial enabler of the Prime Minister’s green recovery ambitions.

“Delivering a green recovery for seas, skies and streets, over £300 million of electricity distribution network investment will enable wide-ranging projects which help tackle some of our biggest net-zero challenges, like electric vehicle range anxiety and the decarbonisation of heavier transport.

“This new funding shows the social, economic and environmental benefits that can be brought forward by industry working closely with a flexible regulator.”

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