Ambitious scheme to double UK electric vehicle charging points backed by UAE

Cornerstone investor in the country's flagship government-backed scheme to promote electrification of mobility

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03: A general view of the DS X E-Tense Concept car at the 'Electric Haute Couture' event, launching DS Automobiles' two new electric vehicles, at Harvey Nichols on October 03, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images for DS Automobiles)

The UAE has enlisted as the financial backer of an ambitious £400 million plan to more than double the number of electric vehicle charging points in the UK above 5,000 units.

A launch in the the Foreign and Commonwealth office heard the introduction of the nationwide scheme was a "game-changer" for electric vehicle usage in a country that is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2050. Masdar, a subsidiary of the Mubadala Investment Company has invested £35 million in the Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund (CIIF), a sum that has been matched by the UK government.

“With electric mobility becoming both more affordable and acceptable to consumers, accessible public charging infrastructure is a necessity if electric vehicles are to achieve large-scale penetration of the car market, and we are eager to support the UK’s bold vision,” said Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, the Masdar chief executive.

Mr Al Ramahi said Britain was one of the most attractive markets for renewable energy investments in Europe and Masdar was at the forefront of investments in the sector.

Khaled Al Qubaisi, chief executive of Aerospace, Renewables and ICT for Mubadala, said consumer choice was driving the switch to electrification, a trend that required a rapid infrastructure build-up.

“While there is no doubt that climate action requires sustained attention, high-level political commitment and a multilateral response, it is collaborations such as this one, between innovators, technologists, investors and governments, that can accelerate the transformation of the global energy sector,” he said. “The UAE has made huge strides in recent decades to become a leader in energy production and green energy practices, but it is essential that we continue to partner, share our knowledge with the rest of the world, and learn from other countries.”

Simon Clarke, the economic secretary to the UK Treasury, welcomed the cornerstone partnership, saying the build-up of charging points would be rolled out across the nation.

Electric vehicle owners or operators are often dependent on home charging points as a source of fuel. Public charging points would encourage others to switch.

"The key point is that you can have the best of both worlds," he said. "We do  want to see infrastructure in the home but in order for this to become viable we want to see the same infrastructure outside the home as you see for petrol or diesel cars.

"Britain already boasts one of the biggest networks of charging infrastructure in Europe and soon we will have the fastest thanks to this investment."

The fund and the infrastructure build up will be managed by specialist firm Zouk Capital. Samer Salty, its managing partner, said the stars of government regulation and private demand, had aligned to make the UK one of the most advanced green energy nations in the world. “The electric vehicle market is currently one of the most dynamic and exciting growth areas to be involved in," he said. "The electrification of mobility is real and is happening.

"CIIF is an exciting platform backing this nascent sector whilst offering both strong commercial returns and support for the Government’s net zero carbon objectives.”