Electric vehicles have a significant role to play in securing a greener future on our roads. With the transport sector accounting for 17% of greenhouse gas emissions in Wales, Welsh Government recognises the importance of the sector in its response to the climate emergency and in fulfilling its commitment to achieving net zero carbon by 2050.
Aspirations for the future of transport have been outlined in Welsh Government’s new transport strategy, Llwybr Newydd – New Path, which recognises the need to increase the usage of public transport and to encourage more walking and cycling. Phasing out petrol and diesel cars in favour of electric vehicles is also an integral part of this vision. With lower operating costs and zero tailpipe emissions, the benefits of electric vehicles are clear but the availability of charging facilities across Wales proposes many challenges.
Arup was commissioned by Welsh Government to support the development of its Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy for Wales to 2030. The strategy sets out an equitable vision for electric vehicle charging, providing a common framework that supports the public and private sector as well as individuals in their transition to net zero. Arup also assisted Welsh Government to develop the accompanying Action Plan, setting out the steps that it will take to support ambitions for better charging infrastructure across Wales.
The draft EV charging strategy was launched in December 2020, subject to a consultation process to gather the views of the Welsh public. The final Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy for Wales was then published in March 2021.
In October 2021, Welsh Government published the Action Plan.
2030 the timeframe of the strategy
>30,000fast chargers needed by 2030
A vision for electric vehicle charging in Wales
Compared with other countries in the UK, Wales is starting from a lower level of electric vehicle car ownership in 2020. With just 0.17% of vehicles used in Wales currently electric, improving public confidence in being able to charge vehicles reliably, safely and conveniently will be integral to support a transition away from combustion cars and vans. In response, the Arup team developed a strong vision statement that is centred on meeting the needs of current and prospective electric vehicle users: By 2025, all users of electric cars and vans in Wales should be confident that they can access electric vehicle charging infrastructure when and where they need it.
Developing an inclusive strategy
Our team of decarbonisation advisors, data scientists, transport planners, environmental consultants, user experience specialists and economists worked in collaboration to produce an inclusive strategy that responded to the unique needs across Wales. Together with stakeholders in Welsh Government, as well as engaging existing and potential users of EVs in Wales via focus groups, we created the strategy in the context of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. The act provides an exemplary framework to plan for the long-term needs of people and communities and tackles important issues such as climate change and inequality.
Responding to Wales' charging needs
Predicting what type of charging is needed, how many chargers are necessary and where they should be located, involved a complex set of variables. Our team adapted our industry-leading model based on energy, transport and demographic data to develop bespoke charging behaviour scenarios for different EV users. Using these intelligent modelling processes, we were able to help inform the design of electric vehicle charging networks across Wales.
© Andrew Roberts
The launch of this strategy represents the first step in delivering a vision for electric vehicle charging that meets the requirements of Wales. The Arup team has partnered with us through the development of the strategy from understanding the current starting point, modelling future requirements and designing outcomes that achieve the vision. Their multi-disciplinary team have impressed us along the way with their technical, planning, modelling and transport decarbonisation expertise. ” David Fisher Senior Manager Business Solutions – Economy, Skills and Natural Resources, Welsh Government
Decarbonising the future of transport
Home charging is the most convenient and cost-effective method of charging an electric vehicle where available. With many existing homes across Wales having access to off-street parking, it offers great potential and forms the foundation of the strategy.
The strategy plans for the introduction of requirements that ensure new homes have charging facilities installed as well as wider support for those who would like to install charge points at their current homes. Installing fast charging facilities at locations such as supermarkets and workplaces will be increasingly important to promote equitable charging, accommodating those without access to such facilities at home.
Welsh Government is proposing to invest approximately £30m in electric vehicle charging over the next five-year period to kick start delivery. Working with Transport for Wales, Welsh Government will develop delivery arrangements based on the feedback from the consultation. The final strategy will be accompanied by an action plan to track and manage delivery, monitored and reviewed annually.