There’s no debate that electric vehicles (EV’s) are the transport of the future and the sooner the transition starts the better for the planet. But to succeed the right infrastructure needs to be in place and this is a complex task. The UK has set very ambitious targets for the switch to EV’s, with no sales of new petrol or diesel powered vehicles allowed after 2030. But it’s not just getting motorists to switch that’s a challenge (currently EV’s only account for 1% of vehicles). The UK’s EV charging infrastructure is still woefully inadequate.
It’s a catch 22. EV’s remain more expensive to buy and motorists are hesitant to make the investment when they fear they’ll be stranded due to a lack of charging infrastructure. Conversely, investors question the wisdom of investing in more EV charging infrastructure when the current adoption rate remains low.
In the meantime the government continues to create new laws – all well intentioned with the aim of achieving net zero, but are the lawmakers taking into consideration everything that needs to happen?
Recently it was announced that all new homes would require EV charging stations. Unfortunately this doesn’t address how to retrofit EV infrastructure to existing homes or provide a solution for those living in apartment buildings. Currently charging stations are mostly limited to parking garages and filling stations. Suggestions have been made for curbside charging stations linked to street lighting. But this will require major collaboration between government departments, energy suppliers and private sector. It’s possibly one of the better solutions, but it won’t happen overnight.
The energy and infrastructure sectors face major obstacles in the next decade. They have big targets to reach in terms of developing and transitioning to clean and renewable energy sources while still achieving the capacity required for increased energy demands. There is major work to do in order to extend and upgrade existing energy infrastructure. Never mind all the integration that needs to happen in order to have everything in place to support EV’s becoming the main form of transport.
But most importantly, the promise of funding for clean energy projects and EV infrastructure expansion needs to be turned into a reality so that projects can get underway without any further delays. Less talk, more action, more investment and more enablement to support the success of projects rather than focusing on issuing more regulations.