Electric strategy30 Jun 2011

Leading the charge towards low-carbon cars

The RAC Foundation has broadly welcomed the Government’s latest announcement on how it will promote a charging infrastructure for plug-in electric cars though it has warned that the favoured option of home charging is not a cost-free option for motorists.

Professor Stephen Glaister said:

“The Government recognises electric vehicles are best charged at home at night when electricity is cheapest and greenest. But this means another upfront expense for drivers who’ve already shelled out a significant amount of money for a battery-powered car: a suitable home charging unit costs motorists around £1,000 to install.”

The Department for Transport’s Making the Connection publication sets out:

“… the steps that Government, as part of its £400m programme to support ultra-low emission vehicles, and industry will take to support an infrastructure that encourages the majority of recharging at home, at night, and after the peak in electricity demand, supported by workplace charging for commuters and fleets, and a targeted amount of public infrastructure.

“The Transport Secretary also announced that the Renault Fluence has become the tenth vehicle now eligible for the Plug-in Car Grant – a generous consumer grant of up to £5,000.

“Philip Hammond said;

“The ability to re-charge is a key part of the jigsaw in supporting the growth of the electric vehicle market.  It is crucial therefore that we make the process as simple as possible.

“Public chargepoints are part of the answer but putting a chargepoint on every corner is not the right approach. It is most convenient for drivers and best for the energy system for the majority of charging to happen at home.

“Electric cars mean getting out of the mentality of needing to travel to a petrol station and into the habit of refuelling when a vehicle is not being used.

“This Strategy will help maintain the UK as a global leader in the design, production and use of electric and ultra-low emission cars and at the forefront of efforts to decarbonise motoring.”

“The strategy outlines support for plug-in vehicle infrastructure through;

  • Ensuring plug-in vehicles are an attractive choice for the motorist– e.g. ensuring that Britain’s smart metering is implemented so that cars can charge when it’s cheapest for the consumer; providing comprehensive information through a National Chargepoint Registry so when a motorist needs to use a public chargepoint they know where to find one; ensuring systems are in place so that all chargepoints can be used by all motorists; and challenging industry to resolve, by the end of the year a range of technical issues that will allow the market to grow in the UK.
  • Making it easier for private enterprise to provide recharging infrastructure by removing regulatory barriers – e.g. establishing a Permitted Development Right for chargepoints so they no longer need planning permission; and Ofgem will consult this year on an exemption that makes it clear that charge point owners and operators can sell electricity via chargepoints at the market rate;
  • Proposing the inclusion of policy on plug-in vehicle infrastructure in the National Planning Policy Framework, due for consultation next month, to encourage local authorities to consider adopting policies to include plug-in vehicle recharging infrastructure in new domestic, workplace and retail developments.”



Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

020 7747 3445 / 07711 776448 / [email protected]