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UK government boosts EV charging network with new proposals

Published: 02 August 2018

► Goverment backs EVs in a big way
► New homes and offices could have chargers as standard
► Park of the UK's Road to Zero plan

The UK’s EV charging infrastructure has just received a massive boost. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling will outline new plans to increase the amount of electric chargers available to motorists, focusing especially on home and workplace powerpoints.

The new proposals explore the idea of installing charging points as standard in new homes and offices, but also suggest new street lighting could include charging points for off-street parking. Alongside those new building regulations,  Grayling also outlines a further cash injection into the UK’s EV infrastructure.

According to Grayling, the new measures mean the UK would possess ‘one of the most comprehensive support packages for zero-emission vehicles in the world’. In his speech, he’ll also add that he wants, ‘the UK to become the best country in the world in which to develop and manufacture zero-emission vehicles.’

‘We welcome the government’s continued support for electric vehicles, which are already enabling zero-emission motoring for over 150,000 drivers in the UK,’ added the newly-merged Chargemaster chief executive David Martel.

‘We are very pleased to see the continued focus on supporting home charging, as well as an increase in the Workplace Charging Scheme, and a commitment to encourage the installation of charging infrastructure in new developments, which will cost less than retrofitting it in the future.’

All you need to know about EV charging in the UK

Advances in battery technology mean range is less of an issue than it used to be, but that doesn't stop you worrying about where and when you need to change your electric car. Although there are 13,000 public charging points in the UK – five times more than in 2011 – they’re still dramatically outnumbered by petrol stations. For many,  infrastructure is still a stumbling block for many when it comes to buying a battery-powered car.

The state of play...

But it’s not all bad news. The number of charging stations around the UK and Europe is growing at a decent rate, and you’ll probably be surprised to find a good network of local charging stations near you – and along most routes you’re likely to take.

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What's more BP has just bought Chargemaster, in a move that’ll see the petrol station take over the UK’s largest public network of EV charging points. The new company will be called BP Chargemaster, and will include Chargemaster’s 6500 charging points along with BP’s existing 1200 service stations.

BP Chargemaster says the ‘development of convenient and innovative EV charging technologies’ is a key part of its ongoing mission, and with such a large foundation to build on, it’s certainly heading the right way. And because Chargemaster already sells domestic charging units, it’s you’ll eventually be installing BP Chargemaster products in your homes, too.      

Alongside that revamped EV charging experience, BP also wants to roll out 150kW rapid chargers that’ll deliver 100 miles of range in around ten minutes - providing you have a compatible card, of course. 

On this page we’ve explained how to look for the nearest electric car charging station, plus the best ways to plan your journey with an EV.

How to find your nearest electric car charging station in 2018

Zap-Map is one of the most useful resources for any EV owner, and regardless of what electric car you’ve got, it’ll show a good deal of information. To find out your nearest electric charging station, head to this link and then type in your postcode. After that you’ll be shown a map with all your local EV charging stations, and each site is colour-coded depending on the type of charging on offer.

Read our guide to the best electric cars on sale in the UK

What’s more, Zap-Map also has a community element - so you’ll be able to see any problems reported with chargers, too.


How to plan a route with an electric car in 2018 

Most modern EVs’ sat-nav systems actually include charging stops when planning a route – but if you’re keen to check your route before you get in the car, Zap-Map is also the best place to go. You’ll need to create an account first, but after that getting a suitable route is as easy as going to the route planner and entering your destination and starting point.

Read our guide to the best electric cars and EVs on sale in the UK

The map will then show charging stations along the way, and you can drag a slider to show suitable charging plugs further afield if needed.


If you’ve got a Tesla, you’ll be able to use a more bespoke tool. Earlier this year, Elon Musk’s EV company launched a journey planner which helps you map out any route with your EV. Because the tool is specific to Tesla, it’s able to carefully calculate your route based on the range of your car – and it’ll also favour Tesla’s own speedier Supercharger network, too. You can try the tool out here.

CAR magazine is living with a Tesla Model S in 2018 - read our long-term test review here

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast

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