The shift to ultra-low emission vehicles presents unique environmental and economic opportunities for the UK. It offers the potential to decarbonise road transport while still enabling mobility and stimulating the kind of green jobs and investment that we require to help rebalance our economy.
Reducing transport emissions will require a range of different technologies and solutions in the future. To help support this transition, the Government is committed to growing the market for plug-in vehicles in the UK. This is due to the contribution that they, and other low and ultra-low carbon technologies, can make across our economic and environmental priorities – climate change, green growth, energy security, decarbonising the electricity system and air quality.
The Government is taking an integrated and pragmatic approach to support market growth:
- The Spending Review made provision of over £300m over the life of this Parliament for the Plug-
In Car Grant to reduce the upfront cost of eligible vehicles to consumers and businesses.
- Consumers and businesses also benefit from a favourable tax regime, with plug-in vehicles receiving Vehicle Excise Duty and Company Car Tax exemptions, as well as Enhanced Capital Allowances.
- The Plugged-In Places programme has made £30m available to match-fund eight pilot projects installing and trialling recharging infrastructure in the UK to support the Carbon Plan commitment to install up to 8,500 chargepoints.
- Recognising that continued growth in recharging infrastructure will be driven by private sector investment, which could be constrained by the ability to raise finance, there is the potential for the Green Investment Bank to provide targeted financial solutions for appropriate plug-in vehicle infrastructure projects.
- The Government is also supporting low and ultra-low carbon vehicle Research, Development and Demonstration focusing on priorities identified in conjunction with the UK Automotive Council.
This Strategy sets the framework for the development of recharging infrastructure to support plug- in vehicle owners and industry in the UK. By providing a clarity of approach and removing barriers for those wishing to invest in, provide or benefit from such infrastructure, this Strategy aims to stimulate and accommodate the expected growth in the plug-in vehicle market.
In the period up to 2015, we expect to see tens of thousands of plug-in vehicles on the roads in the UK, with manufacturers bringing increasing numbers of models to market. In the period from 2015 to 2020 we expect to see the number of plug-in vehicles accelerate as costs reduce and vehicle manufacturers bring forward a wider range of plug-in vehicle models in order to meet their stringent 2020 CO2 targets under the European New Car CO2 Regulation.
The rate at which the plug-in vehicle market develops in the UK will be determined by a range of factors, such as consumer acceptance and oil prices, which are difficult to predict. Independent forecasts suggest that hundreds of thousands of plug-in vehicles could be on the road by 2020 and we need to be equipped to deal with this; but we also need to be ready to accommodate an even more rapid rate of growth should this occur.
The evidence base
The Plugged-In Places programme is the key mechanism for commencing the roll-out of recharging infrastructure in the UK and providing learning to inform the future development
of a national network. In addition, the Energy Technologies Institute Plug-In Vehicle Economics and Infrastructure Programme and the Technology Strategy Board’s Ultra-Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Programme have informed this Strategy. We have also worked closely with the energy utilities, plug-in vehicle manufacturers, chargepost manufacturers and have sought insights from a range of global initiatives.
Our vision for recharging
Our approach is not to mandate ‘a chargepoint on every corner’ – this is not necessary to help
the market grow and would be uneconomic. Rather, for plug-in vehicles to appeal to, and be a viable solution for, consumers, we want recharging infrastructure to be targeted, convenient and safe. We want to see the majority of recharging taking place at home, at night, after the peak in electricity demand. Home recharging should be supported by workplace recharging for commuters and fleets, with a targeted amount of public infrastructure where it will be most used, allowing people to make the journeys they want.
Recharging at home
Recharging at home, at night, off-peak, is not only most convenient for drivers, but also maximises the environmental and economic benefits of plug-in vehicles by using cheaper, lower carbon night-time electricity generation. It also makes the best use of available electricity network capacity.
To help people charge at home as easily as possible, the Government is:
- ensuring that smart metering in Great Britain includes the functionality to support smart charging of plug-in vehicles. This will allow recharging to react to price signals, ensuring that it can happen when it is cheapest for consumers and the energy system, subject to appropriate technology in the chargepoint or plug-in vehicle;
- through Ofgem’s Low Carbon Network Fund, supporting smart grid projects linked to the Plugged-In Places projects in London and the North East which will look at how plug-in vehicles and domestic recharging can be best managed;
- facilitating the installation of domestic chargepoints through the Plugged-In Places projects;
Making the Connection: The Plug-In Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy
- proposing the inclusion of policy on plug-in vehicle infrastructure in the National Planning Policy Framework, due for consultation in July 2011. This will encourage local authorities to consider adopting policies to include plug-in vehicle recharging infrastructure in new domestic developments; and
- exploring whether voluntary standards, such as the Code for Sustainable Homes, can be used to encourage the inclusion of plug-in vehicle recharging infrastructure in new domestic developments.
Recharging at work
After home recharging, we want to see workplaces providing recharging opportunities, both for fleet vehicles and employees for whom recharging at home is not practical or sufficient. We expect that plug-in vehicles will be particularly attractive to fleet purchasers. Given the current favourable taxation regime, running cost savings and the opportunity for businesses to differentiate themselves and demonstrate their leadership on sustainability, plug-in vehicles make commercial sense for many businesses.
To help businesses respond to these demands we are:
- establishing a Permitted Development Right that will allow landowners to install plug-in vehicle chargepoints in car-parking areas without the need to apply for planning permission, removing a barrier for those interested in installing chargepoints;
- enabling businesses whose emissions are caught under the Carbon Reduction Commitment to discount electricity used to charge plug-in vehicles from their total electricity consumption. This means businesses with workplace chargepoints will not face additional costs;
- proposing the inclusion of policy on plug-in vehicle infrastructure in the National Planning Policy Framework, due for consultation in July 2011. This will encourage local authorities to consider adopting policies to include plug-in vehicle recharging infrastructure in new workplace developments;
- looking at enabling provision of information to consumers about plug-in vehicles and workplace recharging as part of the Green Deal customer journey – evidence suggests people taking up core Green Deal measures for workplaces are also likely to be plug-in vehicle adopters; and
- supporting the Plugged-In Places projects to install chargepoints in workplaces. Recharging in public places
The majority of recharging is likely to take place at home and at work, so an extensive public recharging infrastructure would be underutilised and uneconomic. We want public infrastructure to be targeted at key destinations, where consumers need it, such as supermarkets, retail centres and car parks, with a focused amount of on-street infrastructure, particularly for residents without off-street parking.
Although central and local government is currently playing a key role in establishing the early public infrastructure, in the longer term a commercial market needs to develop. Public infrastructure needs to be easy to locate and easy to access, to give the public the assurance that they need to utilise the full range of their vehicles and to support the commercial case for public charging.
To ensure appropriate targeting and ease of access we are:
- establishing a National Chargepoint Registry that will allow chargepoint manufacturers and operators to make information on their infrastructure, including location, available in one place;
- supporting a common standard for plug-in vehicle smartcards issued by the Plugged-In Places to access their infrastructure, making it easier for users to access more than one scheme;
- challenging industry to specify, by the end of the year, back-office requirements that enable users to easily access chargepoints provided by different schemes. As the essential first step we are developing a central system to allow the back-offices of the Plugged-In Places, and other infrastructure schemes, to communicate with each other (a central whitelist); and
- supporting the Plugged-In Places projects to install chargepoints in public places where they are most needed.
To make public infrastructure easier to install and to improve the commercial case for installing it we are:
- establishing a Permitted Development Right that removes the requirement from local authorities and owners of publicly accessible car parks to apply for planning permission to install chargepoints;
- working with Ofgem to remove regulatory barriers. Ofgem will consult this year on an exemption that makes it clear that chargepoint owners and operators can sell electricity via chargepoints at the market rate; and
- making data freely available on how public recharging infrastructure installed through the Plugged-In Places is used, to help inform commercially viable business models.
We want plug-in vehicle owners to be able to recharge quickly when they need to. Industry favours moving to a dedicated plug-in vehicle recharging connector (the IEC62196-2 Type 2) to allow faster recharging rates than are possible with a three-pin plug. Given this clear direction of travel, the Plugged-In Places will start to install public infrastructure with Type 2 connectors.
Enabling longer journeys
We want plug-in vehicles to become a viable, mass-market alternative to conventional cars. We recognise that, while 95% of trips in Great Britain are less than 25 miles, well within the range of battery electric vehicles, consumers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by the potential to travel further.
Plug-in hybrids and extended-range electric vehicles, rapid chargers, battery swap and flexible ownership models all have the potential to help plug-in vehicle owners undertake longer journeys. We are supporting a range of approaches for extending journeys through the Plugged-In Places, including plans to install around 50 rapid chargers at key locations. We have also included plug-in hybrids and extended-range electric vehicles within the scope of the Plug-In Car Grant.
Making the Connection: The Plug-In Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy
Taking the Strategy forward
We have set out much in this Strategy that we need to deliver. However, success will require the combined efforts of many.
Local leaders and local initiatives will have an important role in driving activity to ensure infrastructure fits with community needs and priorities. Electricity distributors need to factor in additional demand from plug-in vehicles as they plan to reinforce the grid and consider how to introduce smart grid capabilities. Electricity suppliers have a valuable opportunity to develop new tariffs for plug-in vehicle owners and commercial models for the provision of recharging infrastructure. Businesses and investors need to act on the new commercial opportunities
that recharging infrastructure presents, including provision of auxiliary services such as media, communications and mobility services.
Given this wide range of different parties that need to be brought together to make this market a success we are asking the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ Electric Vehicle Group, the Energy Retail Association and the Energy Networks Association to, by the end of the year:
- specify how the back office functions for recharging infrastructure will operate; and
- develop recommendations on the most cost-effective way to ensure that recharging occurs
We will not stop here. This is a fast-moving market and, for this reason, we will provide an update to this document at the start of 2013.