UK needs 500,000 EV charge points by 2035
A new report commissioned by the UK Government reveals the massive scale of investment required in infrastructure to support the nation's transition to electric vehicles
Fleet electric vehicle charging needs are at the heart of a new report by the UK’s Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce (EVET), which says the UK will need 500,000 public charge points by 2035, compared to the 30,000 public chargers that exist today.
The EVET report - Charging the Future: Drivers for Success 2035 - follows the UK Government’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy , which said that a minimum of 300,000 public charge points will need to be deployed by 2030.
2.5m EV sales per year
The Taskforce says annual sales of battery electric vehicles (BEV) will need to reach 2.5 million per year by 2035 if the UK is to achieve its net zero goals by 2050. To put this sales volume into perspective, it is 13 times higher than BEV sales in 2021 and will account for as much as much as 7% of forecast global BEV car production.
To support this huge increase in BEVs requires a massive rise in the number of charge points, with modelling outputs suggesting that the number of chargepoints needed ranges from 253,000 to 661,000 by 2035 with a central estimate of 490,000. Crucially, these have to be built before drivers switch from internal combustion engines to “gain consumer confidence” in battery power, according to the EVET, adding that, “Vehicle fleets - in particular public and large private sector fleets - are in the vanguard of EV adoption.”
35% of drivers have no off-street parking
About 35% of drivers do not have off-street parking, which means they will be forced to plug in their EVs at the workplace, depot or public charging stations, according to the EVET.
Currently, only 5% of drivers use designated workplace charging as the primary location for charging their vehicles, although long dwell times at business premises and depots make slower, smart charging an attractive option. The report forecasts that there will be 200,000 depot charge points by 2035, serving 14% of fleet vehicles.
“However, there are a limited number of fleet use cases where vehicles are kept either on-street or at other public locations and these will have specific charging requirements,” said the report.
Some fleets have expressed concern that parking liveried vans at on-street chargers, where there is already pressure on parking, may create local problems, while other use cases – such as car clubs, rental cars, and double-shift vehicles will need rapid charging hubs to facilitate 30-minute turnarounds.
Many of these vehicles may also need specific charging infrastructure, such as larger bays and longer cables to accommodate bigger vans.
Charge point reliability
Plus, all fleets that rely on public chargers need confidence that the charge point will be in service, and potentially open to reservations. EVET calls on the Government and local authorities to ensure contracts with charge point operators stipulate charger uptime and repair completion targets.
“Fleet operators who are under time pressure need reliable access to chargepoints, implying greater emphasis on their maintenance as well as the ability to schedule charging at public sites and/or allow priority and top-up charging at hubs,” said the report.
Interestingly, EVET’s research found that EV drivers without home charging prefer local on-street chargers, while drivers who have not yet switched to BEVs prefer the idea of fast local charging hubs.
The report also forecasts that the UK will need about 60,000 en route rapid chargers to support longer journeys, although it acknowledges the difficulty in making this scale of prediction. If the number of BEVs on UK roads exceeds its forecast by just 1% by 2035, the country will need an additional 3,200 en route rapid chargers.
Finally, EVET says all public charge points will have to be visible, accessible, connected, secure and interoperable to gain consumer confidence.
“Full interoperability entails a network of chargepoints enabling customers to access any public charging station without entering a subscription, offers non-discriminatory access for customers with existing subscription with other EMPs [e-Mobility Service Provider] facilities value added services to customers, and allows for customers to roam using a single identification or payment method," it said.
The EVET reports into the UK Government’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles.