The UK government has set aside an initial £70 million in funding to more than double the number of rapid charge points for fleet and domestic owners of electric vehicles (EVs) across the country.

Some 3,000 new rapid charge points have been earmarked for the £70 million funding, as part of the government’s continued investment in green technologies. The new charge points will take the UK’s quota to 5,000, according to the Treasury.

Rapid charge points are available in AC and DC form. They tend to operate up to 50kW of power per charging point, enabling them to charge as much as 80% of an EV’s battery in less than an hour. This means that they charge four times as quickly as fast charge points that operate between 7kW and 22kW of power per charging point, which are the most common type of EV charging point in the UK at present.

The initial £70 million is part of the new Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund that will be managed and invested in by firms within the private sector. The government plans to invest over £200 million over a period of years, which it hopes will be matched by private investors.

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, spoke of the initial investment supplied jointly by the government and Masdar, insisting that this fresh funding should help the UK’s EV charging infrastructure to snowball in the years ahead.

“It’s fantastic there is already a rapid charge point at almost every motorway service station, and now more charging stations than petrol stations,” said Shapps.

“But I want to see thousands more charge points installed across the UK.

“This fund will help drum up further investment in charging infrastructure from the private sector, so charging an electric car becomes as easy as plugging in a smartphone.”

The government has also confirmed £31.5 million of funding to put towards research into pioneering green technologies to help eradicate greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Meanwhile a further £22 million has been set aside to research next-generation air pollutants and how to prevent these from becoming the next danger to public health.

Simon Clarke, Exchequer Secretary, said that the UK “already boasts one of the biggest networks of charging infrastructure in Europe” and that it will soon “have the fastest [charging infrastructure] thanks to this [fresh] investment”.

“This is the latest in our proud record on climate change – having slashed emissions by over 40% since 1990, whilst simultaneously growing our economy, and setting an ambitious target for net zero emissions by 2050,” added Clarke.