As part of a Ten-point plan to support its net zero goals to 2050, the UK government announced a plan to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 onwards. But is the UK’s charging infrastructure ready?
Electric vehicles (EV) have faced two significant problems from a consumers point of view (whether that’s a perceived problem or an actual problem), limited range and limited places to charge their vehicle.
Transitioning from petrol and diesel cars to electric vehicles is key to reducing emissions and meeting net zero. For this to happen, it is essential that there is a comprehensive and competitive EV charging network in place, one that people can trust and they are confident using – much like filling up with fuel. If this is not the case, and the charging network is perceived as inadequate, that will act as a major barrier to people making the switch to electric.
According to Zap Map, there are now nearly 45,000 charge points connectors across the UK in over 16,500 locations for 110,340 registered electric and hybrid vehicles in 2021 (up from 104,513 in 2020 according to Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders SMMT) – that’s more public places to charge than petrol stations, with around 6,000 more charge point connectors added since 2020 alone. SMMT also reported 739,203 diesel and petrol car registrations in 2021, still a substantial amount more than electric and hybrid vehicles.
Many motorists have long seen their cars as more than just vehicles. This means that customer adoption rests on drivers retaining the choice and freedom they have had with their vehicles to date – not worrying if they’ll reach their destination without running out of range or the battery fading quicker than their smartphone.
Government has set out an ambitious National Strategy for rolling out EV charging between now and 2030, and Ofgem makes changes to speed up grid connections, invest strategically and lower connection costs – so that the electricity system supports roll-out.
IAM RoadSmart’s Corporate Training Manager, Lloyd Jones, is on hand to give his expert advice on the UK’s charging infrastructure:
“I can sympathise with the publics reluctance to make the switch to electric vehicles, as it is a jump into the unknown. I’ve had a traditional internal combustion engine vehicle for over twenty years and over that time I have developed an effective management system for keeping the vehicle on the road and the thought of running out of charge and being stranded did not appeal to me.
“But since making the switch I have saved not only money but time. I only travel about forty miles a day and this is easily coped with in my EV. When I get home, I plug it in overnight and there is no need to head to the fuel station. On the odd occasion where I need to travel further, I head the hundred odd miles down the motorway to the office, plug-in when I get there, go to my meeting and when I get back to my car, full charge for the return trip.
“Car manufacturers have done an excellent job in equipping EVs, they tend to be full of toys (for my inner eleven-year old) and they are easy to drive, in fact it is like driving an iPad on wheels.”