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Is The EV Charging Infrastructure in the UK Developing At A Fast Enough Rate

According to the latest figures released in March 2023, there are over 40,000 public charging points across 23,000 locations.

This is an estimated increase of 35% in the number of charging units compared to March 2022. It’s important to remember that these figures do not include home chargers or workplace locations, as that would take the estimated total to well over 400,000.

How Has The Infrastructure Grown In Recent Years

Going way back to 2016, when there were only about 7,500 public charging points, you can see significant investment in installations over the last seven years.

There has been an increase in slow, fast, rapid and ultra-rapid chargers being installed all over the UK, but fast chargers, which are between 7kW-22kW, are the most common and what you are likely to use if you stop at a public charge point.

To find these types of charging points, they are mainly located at supermarkets, shopping centres, residential streets, car parks and motorway services.

Is It Growing At A Quick Enough Rate

No is the answer to this, the charging infrastructure is growing steadily, but nowhere near fast enough if we want EVs to be the most common vehicle on the UK’s roads.

There needs to be more awareness raised about EVs in general, as a lot of the public still don’t know much about them and there needs to be significant investment in rural areas.

Major cities and towns are getting the required funding, but seaside resorts, rural villages and other countryside destinations are not seeing anywhere enough. This neglects a large proportion of the general public as they don’t see EVs as accessible.

Challenges & Solutions For A Slow Development

Distribution of Charging Points

With many major cities and towns getting a large proportion of public charging points, rural regions face issues. Greater London and the South East have the highest number of public points installed compared to the rest of the UK, with some more rural areas such as the Lake District and Yorkshire having far fewer.

One of the ways that this can be tackled is by encouraging companies, local authorities and businesses to work together to identify areas that need more investment in the charging infrastructure.

Another option is to implement incentive programmes and provide funding to install more charging points in quieter areas.

Charging Speed and Availability

A limited supply of rapid and ultra-rapid chargers may deter people from purchasing an EV, knowing that they may have to wait a while for their car to charge. That’s without taking into account if there is a queue of people.

Investing in higher kW charging units is undoubtedly the first step, and then promoting them at significant motorway services and areas around the UK in strategic locations.

By encouraging innovation in charging technology, we may see an improvement in efficiency and charging speeds. This will make the industry more appealing and convenient to users.

Investment and Collaboration

A lack of investment and collaboration between various stakeholders can hamper the pace of the EV charging infrastructure being rolled out.

One of the ways to resolve this is to encourage public and private partnerships to attract more investment for the sector as a whole.

Secondly, there needs to be more transparency on clear targets, responsibilities and milestones for the charging infrastructure. This will allow pitfalls to be seen and isolate where improvements can be made.

Grid Capacity

With a large influx of people using the Grid, especially during peak hours, this may cause a significant strain on it and without proper funding, it may struggle to cope. This needs to be in place before EVs are the primary vehicles on roads.

To avoid this major problem, there needs to be an investment in the grid reinforcement that will enhance the capacity of the grid and the resilience of it. Another excellent idea is to promote the integration of renewable energy sources, which will decrease the reliance on fossil fuels.

What Changes Can We Expect In 2023

Home EV Chargers Being Shared

With the charging infrastructure still a way behind where it needs to be for the mass adoption of electric cars, you are likely to see more EV owners share home chargers, therefore providing a solution to owners who don’t have their own charging unit at home.

To make some money out of it, people have started to invest in the best home ev charger available and then rent it out through apps such as Co Charger. You then have a reliable charging unit that is paying itself back by renting it to other EV owners.

Increase in Ultra Rapid Chargers

You will likely see a sharp influx of these charging units appearing all over the country. Some areas undoubtedly need them more than others, you are likely to see these in hubs of six or more at significant points around the UK.

People want to charge their EVs as quickly as possible, even if that means paying more money, and these charge points do precisely that, allowing you to charge in under 30 minutes.

On Street Charging

There is quite a clamour for an improvement for on-street charging. More and more residential streets are requiring this, especially if you have a number of homes that don’t have their own driveway or parking space where they can have a unit installed.

Many EV owners rely on residential charging which is why local councils and authorities are starting to invest in these more and more.

Conclusion

The UK EV charging infrastructure is slowly improving but still needs to be at a faster rate if we are to hit targets as a nation from 2030 onwards.

There needs to be more investment from the government across the nation, more cooperation between local councils and counties and there needs to be areas that are identified as having little or no charging infrastructure in place. Once these are tackled properly, we will start to see a serious shift in momentum towards the mass adoption of electric cars on the roads.