Another 83,500 public electric-car charging points need to be installed by 2020, if Britain is to keep up with the increasing demand for zero-emissions vehicles.
Currently there are just 16,500 public charge points in the UK. But with a million plug-in electric cars due to be registered by 2020, this figure needs to increase sixfold to cope with demand.
And it’s drivers in London and other big cities that are in desperate need for the infrastructure to be improved, with three in five residents totally reliant on them because they don’t have garages or driveways they can use to safely charge vehicles.
EV charger shortfall: A new study says some 85,500 public charge points need to be installed in the UK by 2020 to cope with the demand from 1 million vehicles
Data firm Emu Analytics said the UK will need 100,000 public charge points in total in two years, if it’s to match the expected increase in ownership of plug-in cars.
It estimates that some one million electric vehicles will be driven by motorists by 2020 as drivers look to switch allegiances from petrol and diesel power due to increased tax on combustion engine vehicles, city bans and incentives to buy plug-in models.
That will be a huge uptake compared to the 150,000 electric cars in the UK currently.
But already there aren’t enough public chargers, with the study identifying that there is just one charging point for every nine EVs.
Ramping up efforts to meet the 2020 prediction means there will still only be one public charger between every 10 electric models.
While charging industry insiders will argue that the majority of owners will replenish their vehicle’s batteries either at home or at their work place, any extended trip will rely on the availability of chargers en route.
The data company said a pure electric car’s range is typically between 100 and 200 miles, meaning owners will find themselves in situations of needing a boost in power from a public charger if covering journeys within or exceeding the limits of a vehicle’s single-charge capability.
The London Assembly Environment Committee has also been looking into the issue of a shortfall in public chargers this week.
The DfT table shows the rapid take-up of electric vehicles in the capital since 2011
While more Londoners are buying electric cars, experts say the majority are purchased by those with garages and driveways, which makes up just 40% of residents in the capital
It said the number of electric cars in London is ‘booming’ with over 12,000 models registered in the capital, and the infrastructure was already trying to play catch-up.
While it argued that those living in the capital fortunate enough to have driveways or garages are most likely to buy an electric car, this only accounts for 40 per cent of the Greater London population.
The remaining 60 per cent would have to fully rely on on-street chargers, which London Assembly’s report said are ‘not being installed quickly enough’.
It added: ‘Available borough funding for charging points in heavily over-subscribed.’
The report also called on car clubs to incorporate more electric vehicles into their fleets.
Leonie Cooper, former chair of the Environment Committee, said: ‘An electric vehicle is a great option for Londoners in the minority of cases when a journey can’t be done by public transport, walking or cycling.
‘These cars are cleaner, quieter and much better for the environment. What puts people off though, is not knowing whether they will be able to find a charger.
‘We need to get the number and location of charging points right, as well as raise awareness of charging points in the capital. This infrastructure is essential if London is to continue the electric vehicles revolution.’
Which UK cities are best – and worst?
A survey found that more drivers want to see charge points installed in supermarket car parks
Emu Analytics’ research also looked into the cities with the most and least public chargers per EV owners in the regions.
Newcastle was identified as having one of the best EV charger ratios with 1.45 cars per plug-in point.
At the opposite end of the spectrum was Peterborough, which had a staggering 485 cars per charger – though more people in the Cambridgeshire city have off-street parking facilities to charge at home compared to Londoners.
The study also asked people where they think more chargers should be installed.
Supermarkets were named as the preferred location for charging points, though only three per cent of large grocery stores currently operate a charging point, with ASDA offering the best coverage at 19 per cent of their premises.
Tesco, on the other hand, had chargers at 0.4 per cent of its stores.
CEO of Emu Analytics Richard Vilton said: ‘Ultimately the UK, by investing in the right way early, has the opportunity to be a global leader in Electric Vehicles, benefiting businesses, towns, cities and communities by preparing for a sustainable future.’
How much could UK drivers save if everyone drove an EV during the Bank Holiday weekend?
Research by one charge-point provider claims UK drivers could save almost £50million alone this bank holiday if all motorists used electric vehicles – granted there were enough plug-in points to go round.
NewMotion said the average leisure trip undertaken by car this Bank Holiday weekend will be 10.7 miles, according to RAC Foundation data.
At today’s unleaded price of 127.3p per litre, this 10.7 mile journey would cost owners of the most efficient petrol cars up to £1.19.
For diesel owners, with prices currently at 130.2p, the Bank Holiday journey will cost £1.02.
In contrast, the same journey in a 30 kWh Nissan Leaf could cost £0.47, if the car was charged during the day.
This falls to as little as £0.21 if the Nissan Leaf was charged overnight, when electricity prices are cheaper.
For a single trip this might not sound significant, however, the RAC Foundation also predicts that some 50 million leisure trips will be made by cars, vans and taxis on the UK’s roads between Saturday 26 May and Monday 28 May.
NewMotion calculated that if motorists only used EVs over the May Bank Holiday weekend, collectively the UK could save a massive £45.6 million.
That’s also not taking into consideration exemption from the London Congestion Charge and T-Charge as well as free parking in city centres across the UK.
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