Transport Secretary unveils £70m boost for EV chargers at COP28


Author: Mankirat Kaur

In an announcement at COP28's Transport Day in Dubai, Transport Secretary Mark Harper revealed a £70m pilot scheme to enhance motorway service areas with ultra-rapid electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints.

The initiative aims to accelerate the UK's transition to electric vehicles, supporting the government's vision for a robust charging network.

The pilot, covering up to 10 trial sites in England, focuses on upgrading electrical network capacity to ensure future-proofing until 2035. Harper says: “This government is on the side of drivers and working with the private sector to provide robust chargepoint infrastructure is part of our Plan for Drivers, with today’s announcement paving the way for more ultra-rapid chargepoints.

This £70 million pilot scheme is the starting point and sends a message to consumers and industry that we are investing wisely and rapidly to grow the future of transport in the UK.”

The scheme, part of the rapid charging fund (RCF), addresses the costs of upgrading electricity grids at motorway service areas. This financial boost aims to encourage private sector involvement, fostering confidence among consumers to choose EVs.

Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Anthony Browne, said: “This is an important next step in our journey to net zero and demonstrates the government’s commitment to help the private sector expand our charging network.

The scheme follows our world-leading zero emission vehicle mandate, meaning we are truly supporting drivers and industry in making the switch to electric.”

Motorway service areas, strategically vital for longer-distance charging networks, will benefit from the pilot delivered by National Highways. The data collected will inform the design of a comprehensive fund to further support EV charging infrastructure.

Simultaneously, a 10-week rapid charging fund consultation has been launched, seeking input from stakeholders to identify priority locations and design the RCF effectively.

In a collaborative effort with the US, the UK also announced a competition to establish green shipping corridors between the two nations. This initiative builds upon previous successful partnerships and underscores the commitment to zero-emission shipping.

The day witnessed the launch of the world-first global zero-emission vehicle transition roadmap, outlining plans for cleaner road travel and providing financing details for developing economies. The roadmap commits to annual updates at future COP events, ensuring a global transition to cleaner travel.