Transport Secretary Mark Harper left scrambling as he admits he has NO IDEA how many EV charging points are in place - 'I don't know'

Transport Secretary Mark Harper left scrambling as he admits he has NO IDEA how many EV charging points are in place - 'I don't know'

WATCH NOW: Transport Minister Mark Harper is questioned by Camilla Tominey how UK charging points

GB News
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 17/03/2024

- 12:54

Rishi Sunak has made a U-turn on his net zero targets for electric cars

Transport Secretary Mark Harper was grilled by GB News presenter Camilla Tominey on the growing demand for electric car charging points, as the minister struggled to confirm how many units are currently in place in the UK.

The Tory minister revealed the drive in installing public charging points has increased by 43 per cent in the last year, as part of the party's push to net zero.

This follows Rishi Sunak's announcement in late 2023 that he will delay banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by five years to 2035.

The U-turn on the original 2030 target was subject to widespread criticism by climate change campaigners.

Camilla Tominey and Mark Harper

Mark Harper struggled to confirm the number of electric charging points in the UK

GB News

Sunak said the upfront cost of electric vehicles was still too high, and that charging infrastructure needs to be "truly nationwide".

He added that the auto industry needs to be "strengthened" so that the UK isn't reliant on "heavily subsidised, carbon intensive imports from countries like China".

Appearing on the Camilla Tominey Show, Harper said the Conservatives are "very confident" that as the number of electric vehicles increases, there will be more charging points "both at motorway service areas and in local communities".

When asked by Camilla for the number of charging points currently active in the UK, Harper simply replied "I don't know."

Camilla was taken aback by Harper's admission, asking: "Really? But you know how many electric vehicles are on the road?"

She pressed Harper again on the numbers: "There's a million electric vehicles and many people are saying they're struggling to find charging points, so how many are there and how many should there be?"

Unable to answer the question, Harper referred back to the growth in charging points across the country, claiming: "It's increasing every day of the week, and there are increasing numbers at motorway services.

"I don't know the precise number, but I just said that it increased by 43 per cent last year."

Mark Harper

Camilla Tominey grilled Mark Harper on the precise number of electric charging points the UK needs

GB News

Unimpressed with Harper's lack of figures, Camilla told the minister: "How many do you think we need to sustain this? How many do you think we need to have? What what number would you put on it? You're the Transport Secretary!"

Harper detailed the different types of charging ports, and claimed the technology for electric charging points is "developing all of the time".

Harper told Camilla: "We're seeing an increasing number of fast chargers available - that means you don't need as many of those as you do with slower chargers. We've set out rules so that there will be competitive charging available at motorway service areas, so people will have a choice of charge point operators.

"We're being clear about transparency on pricing and the number of charging points is increasing every day. Most people charge at home, but we're making sure there will be charging points available publicly and at motorway service areas so people have the confidence that they can charge their vehicles wherever they go."

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