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UK’s public EV charging infrastructure continues to grow despite Covid-19

EV Charger

As electric vehicle sales in the UK spike, so too do the number of public EV chargers. According to the latest figures from the Department for Transport, there are now 18,000 public EV chargers in the UK, a five-fold increase on the 4,000 that were installed by the end of 2015. 

While many installers slowed their installation pace on health and safety grounds during the Covid-19 lockdown, numbers didn’t exactly flatline. During the second quarter of 2020, more than 300 new public EV chargers were installed. That number is only set to grow further now that the lockdown has been eased. 

However, despite the overall growth in public charging spots, rapid chargers continue to represent only a small minority of overall chargers. There are just 3,206 rapid chargers in the UK, which represents just a sixth of the overall number of chargers available. 

Thankfully, rapid chargers are arguably less important to electric vehicles, as most drivers are unlikely to need them unless travelling on long journeys. That’s because the bulk of charging an electric vehicle can be done at home. 

One thing that is important, however, is the disparity between which regions get public charging spots. For example, London has 57 public chargers per 100,000 people, which is higher than the UK average of 27 charging devices per 100,000 people. That’s because areas like Northern Ireland and the West Midlands have just 16 and 17 chargers per 100,000 people, respectively. 

Commenting on new figures released this morning that show a continuing rise in the provision of public electric vehicle charge points, RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said:

“Despite the coronavirus, it’s clear that the installation of new electric vehicle chargers is continuing apace. With suggestions that we may have passed ‘peak petrol’, the sight of plenty of new chargers in prominent locations like supermarket car parks could be the nudge that some drivers need to opt for a plug-in car next time they change their vehicle, over one powered purely by petrol or diesel.

“While home charging is one of the most important elements of electric vehicle ownership, a comprehensive public charging network is also vital to giving drivers confidence they can keep topped up when away from home. For this reason, it’s vital new chargers are installed right across the UK in rural as well as urban locations.

“It’s also important that rapid and ultra-rapid chargers start to make up a greater proportion of new public chargers – this will mean the ‘turnover’ of electric vehicles using them can be as high as possible, and can go some way towards making the process of charging a car as normal as filling one with fuel.”

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