16 Apr 19

New investigation finds lack of charge points is holding back EVs

A study by the broadcaster, BBC, claims that a lack of charging points is delaying the uptake of electric vehicles in the UK.

The BBC analysed a nationwide map of charge points from the Open Charge Map, a crowd-sourced atlas of public charging points operated by 37 different charging networks.

It found an extremely patchy availability of charge points, with some areas well supplied and others poorly supplied with charge points.

Milton Keynes and Westminster, London have a rich recharging network with more than 130 public chargers, but two-thirds of local authority areas have 20 or fewer chargers and five areas only had one charger. Of even greater concern is the revelation that 107 of the UK’s local authorities have no plans to increase the number of public charge points in their areas, despite national goals that all new cars and vans should be electric or effectively zero-emission by 2040, with new petrol and diesel to be phased out.

Lack of infrastructure holds back EV take-up

Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, said: “RAC research has found the lack of charging infrastructure is one of the three main barriers for electric vehicle take-up, along with range anxiety and high upfront vehicle costs.

“Clearly, we need to improve this access to charge points as a whole, but special attention needs to be given to installing more rapid chargers on the strategic road network as well as adding charging capability at car parks where people spend longer periods, such as at shopping and leisure centre car parks.

“We’d also like to see local authorities work more closely with the Government to find on-street charging solutions. The key is to give drivers the confidence to go electric, which will not happen quickly unless they are given the right incentives to do so, alongside easy access to reliable charging infrastructure.”

Home charging for 80% of EVs

More than 80% of EV charging is done at home, according to the Government’s Department for Transport, but for drivers without a garage or off-street parking where they could install a charge point, the public charging network is vital. It is also critically important for motorists who make journeys longer than a typical battery range.

The Government is investing £200 million in a £400 million Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund to accelerate the installation of public charge points around the country.

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: “Our vision is to have one of the best infrastructure networks in the world for electric vehicles, and we want charge points to be accessible, affordable and secure.”

Charge point data challenged

However, the BBC report has been criticised for the unreliability of its data, with the figures from Open Charge Map challenged for being out-of-date.

On his private Twitter account, Tom Callow, director of Communication and Strategy at BP Chargemaster, wrote: “Old, inaccurate data being used as pure click-bait by the BBC. Want to know what's really putting people off? A lack of knowledge - not charging points.”

He added that it was a lack of supply of electric vehicles, with manufacturers failing to keep up with demand, that was holding back the uptake of EVs.

Authored by: Jonathan Manning