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UK roadmap 2026: Driverless cars and EV hub expansion

UK's roadmap for driverless cars and EV hub expansion by 2026
UK's roadmap for driverless cars and EV hub expansion by 2026

This year will mark a pivotal point for everything AV (autonomous vehicles) and EV (electric vehicles) in the UK. The country’s EV charging network nearly doubled in size, and transport secretary Mark Harper says UK roads could be fully autonomous within the next two years. 

Harper says parliament is currently deliberating the Automated Vehicles Bill, which will create laws for autonomous vehicles (AVs). If all goes according to plan, the legislation will be passed by the end of 2024. 

AVs and road safety

Harper says it’s important to gradually roll out AV technology, allowing residents to decide how they want to use it. 

McKinsey research shows that 46% of people are “open to replacing their private vehicles with other modes of transport in the coming decade.” In addition, 70% are “willing to use a shared autonomous shuttle with up to three others.”

Harper says AVs will improve road safety for drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists. “It has a huge number of potential uses, the obvious one is 88% or so of road traffic collisions we see today are caused by driver error of some description.”

Meanwhile, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) 2023 Report shows how autonomous driving tech could save around 4,000 lives by preventing 60,000 serious accidents. Locate2u News reported in November that it would also create more than 340,000 jobs.

ALSO READ: On autopilot: The evolving world of self-driving cars in the UK

EV charging expansion

According to Zapmap, the UK had more than 50,000 public charging points as of October 2023, emphasizing year-on-year growth of 45% in the total number of net new public chargers installed across the country. 

In addition, “a total of almost 315,000 pure-electric cars were sold in the UK last year [2023], which means there are 51% more EVs on the road than at the end of 2022. In parallel, the number of high-powered chargers grew [by] almost 10,500 devices across more than 5,000 locations at the end of December.”

UK's roadmap for driverless cars and EV hub expansion by 2026
Image: Zapmap

Zapmap co-founder and COO Melanie Shufflebotham says 2023 was a good year for EV charging installation, particularly for the higher powered chargers to support EV drivers on longer journeys.”

As we move into 2024, we look forward to continued progress in both these areas as more and more drivers make the positive move to driving electric,” Shufflebotham adds. 

NOW READ: UK’s automotive surge: A million cars on the horizon

About the author

Cheryl has contributed to various international publications, with a fervor for data and technology. She explores the intersection of emerging tech trends with logistics, focusing on how digital innovations are reshaping industries on a global scale. When she's not dissecting the latest developments in AI-driven innovation and digital solutions, Cheryl can be found gaming, kickboxing, or navigating the novel niches of consumer gadgetry.

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