The Government is set to announce that thousands of electric charging points will be installed across the country as part of the new Carbon Plan.
Chris Huhne, the Energy secretary and Nick Clegg, the deputy Prime Minister will announce the Carbon Plan today which aims to help turn Britain into a low carbon and greener economy. As part of the Carbon Plan they will announce that thousands of electric charging points are to be installed all over the country over the next two years.
Chris Huhne said last week that 2011 would be a breakthrough year for electric cars and as part of the Carbon Plan the Government wants as many as 8,500 charging points set up across the UK the UK by 2013. This project is set to cost £30 million.
The Carbon Plan says “If we are to see large-scale take-up of electric vehicles as a major form of road transport, developing charging infrastructure will be vital”. The increase in petrol prices over the last six months could be an incentive for many to choose electric cars over petrol, especially if they commute relatively short distances. The installation of charging points can also be seen as the Government reacting to increased petrol prices which could prove to be a threat to economic growth. Many small businesses are already suffering from rising fuel bills and having the infrastructure in place may encourage more businesses to choose electric vehicles. However, people will only choose an electric car if they have the ability to charge their car. The £30 million cost of the project will pay for the installation of charging points in streets, homes, car parks and other sites including retail units and leisure facilities.
There have been some concerns raised that there’s not currently enough demand for charging points but it’s really a chicken and egg situation. Without the charging points people will be less keen to buy electric vehicles but if people don’t buy electric vehicles the argument will be raised that electric charging points are not needed.
A number of other ideas feature in the Carbon Plan including setting up a Green Investment Bank by September 2012 and cutting Government emissions by 10% by May 2012. In addition it will be a requirement of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to award the contract for the first carbon capture and storage (CCS) project by the end of 2011 as well as noting further potential projects by May 2012.
While increasing the number of electric cars on the road will be a positive move in some respects, it could also prove problematic. If people choose electric cars over petrol cars then there will be less demand for oil but more demand for electricity. If the infrastructure for electricity generation is not increased then surely there could be a shortage of electricity. There were concerns that we came close to power cuts during the cold weather last year but if there is an increase in demand for electricity to power vehicles then unless new power generation plants are built the country could face a shortage of electricity.