Just five UK councils have made use of government funding for electric car charging points, something ministers believe is denying people the opportunity to move into EVs.
Transport minister Jesse Norman said that despite being “in the early stages of an electric revolution”, councils have been slow to take advantage of government money provided by its On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme.
Launched in 2016, the scheme still contains £4.5 million of unclaimed money, which can cover 75% of the cost to fit new charge points or adapt lampposts so they can supply energy for chargers.
“Millions of homes in the UK do not have off-street parking, so this funding is important to help local councils ensure that all their residents can take advantage of this revolution,” said Norman.
Electric car sales in Britain have grown at unprecedented rates in recent months, despite an ongoing downturn in the wider new car market. In 2017, when the UK market shrank by 5.7%, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric car registrations grew by 34.8% to represent 4.7% of the market. Across the 12 months, 13,500 pure electric cars were sold.
The surge in demand has encouraged schemes to boost charge point installation. Transport for London was the most active government body, announcing in August last year that it would install 1500 new electric car chargers on the capital’s streets between now and 2020.
The pledge came after the boroughs of Richmond upon Thames, Hounslow and Westminster were among the first to integrate EV plugs into heritage street lamps.