The Future Of EV Charging

The State of UK EV Charging Infrastructure 2021

With the recent announcement by the UK government that the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars is being brought forward to 2030, it does raise questions as to how ready we are for the transition from conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) cars to vehicles powered partly or wholly by an electric motor.

At the end of 2020, there were approximately 400,000 plug-in vehicles registered in the UK (nextgreencar.com), which forms approximately 1% of the country’s total vehicles at this time.

However, 2020 was a big year for the industry, with a significant increase in the sales of pure electric cars and plug-in hybrids, against the backdrop of falling sales for conventional cars and the COVID-19 pandemic. Plug-in vehicles combined took a 2020 market share of 9.7% of all new registrations in 2020, versus just a 2.9% market share in 2019.

Assuming that the take-up of electric vehicles continues to rise and snowball as 2030 approaches, how will all of these plug-in vehicles be charged?

Most EV and PHEV drivers will charge their vehicles at home, but what about the 40% of UK households with no access of off-street parking, where installing a home charger just won’t be possible?

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Public EV charging infrastructure

The answer for many of those without access to charging at home will be that they can use the public EV charging infrastructure to keep their batteries topped up, but is the UK system ready for an influx in use?

As of the end of 2020, there were nearly 21,000 public charging devices, in more than 13,000 different locations across the UK. These charge points are a combination of slow, fast, rapid and ultra-rapid chargers, offering a variety of different charging speeds and solutions for a range of different driver needs. From shopping centres and service stations to council car parks and hotels or multi-storeys, new charge points are cropping up in villages, towns and cities all over the country.

Forming part of the public infrastructure are more than 4,500 on-street charging points, usually installed in purpose-built bollards or existing lamp posts.

We asked Dr Chris Jardine for his thoughts on the current infrastructure and future plans, whether it will be ready in time, how prepared the National Grid is to bear the additional load and what further government support might be needed to assist the transition to a cleaner, greener future.

Watch the video below.

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