Warning over infrastructure divide to support shift to electric vehicles in Yorkshire

Poorer access to infrastructure is holding back Yorkshire’s green ambitions, energy suppliers have warned, calling for investment to ease widening divides across the North of England.

Yorkshire and Humber has the lowest level of charging devices for electric vehicles (EV) in the country, analysis by Europe’s fastest growing company Bulb suggests.

Even with mounting interest from consumers, with a rising number of queries and online searches, Yorkshire’s growth rate also withers in comparison to London and the South East, it’s findings additionally reveal.

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As Bulb warns that a shift to electric vehicles is driving a new North-South divide, there are calls to level up access and to scrap taxes to make green technology more affordable for all.

The analysis has looked at access to electric vehicle charging points.

“There’s no shortage of interest in EVs, but we’re heading into a new North-South divide because of a lack of public charging and government spending in the North,” warned Hayden Wood, the company’s co-founder and chief executive.

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Bulb, looking at the Treasury’s transport spend data, claims there is a correlation between low levels of investment in Northern infrastructure and low takeup of transition to electric cars.

There are 65 per cent fewer EV charge points in the North than in the South, it argues, while southern England is home to well over double the number of electric vehicles there are in the North.

The analysis focused on the number of publicly available charging points per member of the population for all regions of the UK.

Yorkshire had 900 charging devices in April this year, it found, equating to 20.5 per 100,000 people. In London, in comparison, there were nearly four times more charging devices per member of the population, and this rate was also 50 per cent higher in the South East (33.3 devices per 100,000 people).

This was an improvement on the previous year, the numbers showed, but the rate of change in London was moving at a pace four times faster.

Rising interest

The research comes amid a boom in rising interest, with online searches for EVs surging in the North of England by almost 75 per cent in the past year, indicating a voracious appetite for change.

Bulb is now calling on the Government to raise investment and to scrap the tax on electric vehicles, making the shift more affordable to further drive consumer adoption.

Removing VAT from a mass-market EV, like a Renault Zoe, the energy supplier claims, would reduce the cost by more than £4,500, and would make a home charger at least £90 cheaper, it claimed.

“With big changes after the local elections in the UK, now is the time to level up public charging and scrap VAT on green products to turn the lights green on EV ownership around the country,” concluded Mr Wood.

'Commitment'

A Spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: “The Government is committed to levelling up the UK. In the last quarter, there were over 2,000 more EV chargepoints installed across the UK, an increase of nearly 10 per cent, as we continue to invest up to £2.8bn to charge up the electric car revolution.

“The Government is working to ensure all local authorities are engaged with this transition and we urge councils across the country to use the funding available to help make sure drivers can access chargepoints.”

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