EV charging infrastructure specialist Connected Kerb has published a report with several industry experts stressing that the UK’s EV charging rollout is not moving fast enough and needs a “step change” to deliver the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars.
EV registrations are up 154% year to date in February 2022 compared to 2021 and are forecast to overtake diesel and hybrid sales by the end of this year. But public charging is not keeping at pace, with the ratio of charge points to BEVs dropping by 31% during 2020 alone.
This puts Britain’s current ratio (16:1) behind other countries, including South Korea (3:1), the Netherlands (5:1), France (10:1), Belgium and Japan (both 13:1).
To meet the UK’s net zero goals, the report outlines what national and local government, investors, developers and charging point providers must do to ensure the UK delivers ubiquitous, affordable, and easy-to-access charging points for all.
While lots of rapid and ultra-rapid chargers are being installed in public spaces such as motorway service stations, the report reveals that drivers require affordable and easy-to-access chargers on virtually every residential street in the UK.
More than 80% of respondents said that having a charger near where their car is parked at home is “essential” or “very important” to their decision about switching to an EV.
With this in mind, the report details six key areas of action:
Those deploying EV charging – particularly local authorities, which are in a unique position to deploy at scale – must step up their ambitions for EV charging deployments, “think big” and install thousands of chargers, not tens.
Use an evidence-based approach to determine the size of user base and dwell time and forecast how this will change over time. If most parking is overnight or all day, many 7kW long dwell chargers may be better than a few expensive rapid chargers. If it is mixed-use, multiple options may be needed.
Focusing on future-proofed, long-life durable chargers will unlock long term contracts. Five-year contracts will attract short term finance looking for fast returns, limiting deployment of chargers to areas of high early EV uptake. Twenty-year contracts will attract patient infrastructure capital willing to forgo profits for 10+ years. This unlocks low capital costs and enables large scale rapid deployment now, ahead of growing demand.
Install ahead of demand
Anticipating how EV use will grow and installing the ‘behind-the-scenes’ ground infrastructure from the start, such as grid connections and passive ducting, enables more flexible expansion once EV uptake increases – charging sockets can simply be added later, saving money and time.
There will be 2.7 million UK drivers or passengers with a disability by 2035, according to Connected Kerb. This group disproportionately lives in homes without private parking and is less likely to switch to EVs without very reliable access to charging. All parties must provide sufficient charging that is designed to be inclusive of drivers with disabilities.
Education and engagement
Lack of understanding about the benefits of EVs remains a key barrier to EV adoption. Focusing on centralised education programmes and community engagement on the benefits of driving electric can drive forward the transition.
“Solving the EV charging challenge is absolutely fundamental to achieving a cleaner, and fairer transport future,” said Chris Pateman-Jones, chief executive of Connected Kerb.
“There is an opportunity ahead of us to make a real and positive impact, reducing UK transport emissions, whilst positioning the UK as a world leader on EVs. Our report highlights the need for a collaborative approach between different stakeholders within the industry and identifies a roadmap to ensure the UK’s charging infrastructure is fit for purpose, ready to unlock a future of zero-emission transport.”