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Electric Vehicles: Charging Infrastructure

Volume 673: debated on Thursday 12 March 2020

10. What steps his Department is taking to support the roll-out of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. (901499)

As the Chancellor announced yesterday, the Government are providing an additional £500 million over the next five years to support the roll-out of a fast charging network for electric vehicles, ensuring that drivers will never be further than 30 miles from a rapid charging station.

I thank the Minister for that answer. I commend the Government on the progress that has been made on charging infrastructure over the last decade, from dozens to hundreds and now thousands of charging points; that challenge is being well met. My concern is that, even with the current grants, the purchase price of electric vehicles is still out of reach for most people on lower incomes. Does she agree that, if we are to see more electric vehicle use in the years to come, the purchase price of electric vehicles is equally as important as the availability of charging infrastructure?

I thank my hon. Friend for his remarks about the Government’s support. It is right that the Government are committed to supporting the up-front cost of an electric vehicle. That is why I am pleased that, at yesterday’s Budget, a further £532 million of funding was announced to keep the plug-in vehicle grant for another three years. He will know that those with fully electric cars will pay no company car tax this year, and vehicle excise duty for all electric vehicles in all price brackets has been abolished.

The extension of the plug-in taxi grant until 2022-23 is welcome. That works for bespoke vehicles, but what about cities such as Cambridge, where the city council rightly expects higher standards, but for hard-pressed drivers, the cost of the vehicles is prohibitive, as the hon. Member for Windsor (Adam Afriyie) said? What are the Government doing to help them?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question and for what is happening in Cambridge. He will know that a range of support is available for all vehicles, including taxis that want to upgrade to electric vehicles, and the Government are committed to continuing the funding for those grants.

I wonder whether the Minister could help me with the next vehicle I should buy. I used to drive a petrol car, then Dave persuaded us all to go green, so I bought a biofuel car, which was destroying the planet, so they said, “Buy a diesel car because it emits less CO2,” so I bought a diesel car, and now I am poisoning people. An electric vehicle might be the solution, though it might be terrible because of the batteries, but I live in a flat both here in Westminster and in my constituency, so an electric car is not the answer. Is it a diesel car with AdBlue? Help me!

I am delighted to assist my hon. Friend. I encourage him to think about purchasing an electric vehicle. The answer is to ensure that there are charging points at his block of flats and across the country. In fact, the Government have doubled the funding available to local authorities to install charging points for electric vehicles on-street, to £10 million. I am sure that that will assist him.