To test the UK’s readiness for electric vehicles, David Wright, chief electricity engineer at National Grid, sent some colleagues on a 565-mile round trip from the utility’s offices in Wokingham, Berkshire, to Teesside. The goal was to see how easy it was to make a long journey using the UK’s vehicle charging network, which varies greatly in speed, accessibility and location. “Nine hours of driving, four hours of charge,” Mr Wright recounted of the journey at a BP conference on electric vehicles in London last month. Parliament’s business, energy and industrial strategy select committee has described Britain’s charging infrastructure as “poor” and “lacking in size and geographical coverage”, and experts say this is one of the biggest barriers to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles in the UK. Energy network operators, charging companies and motoring associations warn that questions over where and how quickly drivers will be able to charge their vehicles, and how much investment is needed in energy grids to support vehicle charging must be considered with far greater urgency if Britain wants to meet accelerated targets to decarbonise its economy. Last month the Committee on Climate Change, a government advisory body, recommended bringing forward a 2040 deadline to end the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars to 2035 “at the latest” as part of a wider target to cut the country’s net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.
FT 11th June 2019 read more »