Southern and Scottish Electricity Networks (SSEN) is calling on the government to help establish the world’s most extensive electric vehicle (EV) charging network.

The government should work with the industry to accomplish this by 2025, helping to accelerate a green recovery and further the adoption of EVs.

This recommendation is issued in SSEN’s Accelerating A Green EV Recovery document, highlighting a number of policy proposals.

Chief among these is the recommendation that the government supports a universal service provision of EV chargepoints through area-wide tenders. This, SSEN said, would support a cost-effective transition to a system that provides access to EV charging capability to communities without off-street parking as well as businesses that are reliant on footfall from town centres and seasonal tourist areas.

SSEN pointed to an area-wide tender in the Netherlands in January 2020 that led to 20,000 public EV chargers being contracted as an example of where this has been done successfully.

Common standards should also be implemented to support chargepoint interoperability at the point of use, with SSEN stating that the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) may be well place to manage the development of a roaming solution, debt/credit card payment facilities at all public chargepoints and the facilitation of open data to allow drivers to plan their journeys.

Following on from this, the government should legislate for comprehensive and secure data sharing arrangements.

Additionally, vehicle-to-grid participation should be incentivised through a scheme that offers subsidies to participants. This scheme should have a clear end date. As part of this, curtailment of EV charging to protect the wider integrity of the network should be allowed in emergency situations.

SSEN continued to recommend that the government and Ofgem should ensure Local Area Energy Plans have a clear role in the RIIO-ED2 price control.

The plans are co-developed by network companies and local bodies with input from key stakeholders, which includes transport groups, consumer bodies and network users to collect data and evidence of need. They can therefore deliver efficient investment in EV infrastructure through identifying where there is need, and developing robust, data-driven evidence for rolling out charge points, SSEN explained.

Colin Nicol, SSEN’s managing director said: “Local authorities should be empowered on this journey. We want to unlock and enable the communities we serve to realise their net zero ambitions. Local Area Energy Plans will allow targeted investment, avoiding unnecessary cost and disruption in the transition to net zero.”

Other recommendations made by SSEN include:

A gigafactory is currently in the works in the UK, with the company behind it – Britishvolt – signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Welsh government last week to build the factory, which has a production capacity of 30GWh in South Wales.

Lastly, SSEN said the government should set policy for better design, reuse and recycling of batteries, including establishing a digital database for tracking batteries “instead of shipping them abroad for treatment”.

“Universal access to EV charge points is critical to a fair transition. With the right policies the UK could have the world’s most extensive EV charging network by 2025, and ensure no one is left behind,” Nicol added.

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