Electric car chargers are critical for the United Kingdom’s transition to a greener economy, but the lack of planning is alarming.

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Electric car chargers are critical for the UK’s transition to a greener economy, but there is a lack of planning.

Millions of electric-car drivers will soon rely on chargepoint equipment, and there are growing concerns about how quickly it will be installed – and where it will go.

The electric-car revolution in the United Kingdom is gaining traction, but will the country be able to install enough chargers to power the new vehicles that millions of drivers are being urged to purchase?

Manufacturers, urban planners, and city officials have told me that the government’s poor leadership risks preventing many people from making the switch for years, particularly in poorer areas without off-street parking.

The need for a large number of chargers to be installed across the country is becoming increasingly urgent.

Nobody in the UK will be able to buy new cars powered solely by petrol or diesel in just over eight years, thanks to government plans to ban the sale of such vehicles by 2030.

By that time, 14 million electric vehicles – or 43% of all cars on the road today – could already be on our roads.

Within five years, the sale of new hybrids will be prohibited.

In the UK, there are currently around 25,000 public charging devices. However, more than that number will need to be installed every year for the next 14 years if we are to reach the 480,000 devices and two million power leads that are expected by 2035.

This is in addition to the 19 million home chargepoints that the energy regulator, Ofgem, estimates are required.

According to the research organization New AutoMotive, between 40 and 50 chargepoints will need to be installed every day between now and 2035 to meet demand.

Installing a charger at home is relatively cheap and simple for people with driveways or garages.

However, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) estimates that around a third of British households, or eight million people, will have to rely on the public network.

Local governments have been left to figure out what kind of on-street charging points are needed and where they should be installed so far, with no explicit instructions.

Councils have complained that the government has failed to provide them with the guidance and leadership they require, and that this has the potential to create a new schism in British society.

A survey of 84 local governments was conducted.

UK news summary from Infosurhoy

Electric car chargers are critical for Britain’s transition to a greener economy, but the lack of planning is concerning.

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Electric car chargers are crucial to Britain going green but the lack of planning is worrying

‘The lack of public chargers is going to become a big problem’

Of all the places to sell an electric car, Swindon sounds like one of the hardest. The Wiltshire town is ranked as the third worst place in the UK for public chargers by comparethemarket.com, with 45 public devices for 17,457 electric vehicles, a ratio of 0.26 to 100.

This will put off buyers who only have kerbside parking at home, says Dominic Threlfall, managing director of Pebley Beach, the first car sales company in Swindon to receive Electric Vehicle Approved accreditation.

Dominic Threlfall, managing director of Pebley Beach (Photo: Dominic Threlfall)
Dominic Threlfall, managing director of Pebley Beach (Photo: Dominic Threlfall)

“Up until a few months ago, most people who came in to buy an electric car were homeowners with garages or driveways,” he explains. “Now electric car prices are starting to come down, the wider market is looking at them – and the lack of public chargers is going to become a big problem.”

Threlfall, whose company specialises in new Hyundai and Suzuki models, emphasises that for people with off-street parking, electric can be more convenient.

“Most of our customers are doing no more than 80 or 90 miles a day and they’re charging at home. I’ve got an EV and I’ve never used a public charger in my life.”

For people relying on on-street parking, it’s another matter. “There’s no solution being presented by anybody yet. They have spoken about lamppost charging, but if you’ve got a high-rise with 30 apartments and there are only two lamppost chargers out there, it’s going to be very, very difficult. I want every apartment to have the ability to charge their car.

“You have a history of poor governments being proactive in the headline items but never actually seeing through to the details.”

‘We started out of my grandpa’s former pig shed’

What could the rest of the country learn from Coventry? The city boasts more public chargers per electric vehicle than anywhere else in the UK, according to comparethemarket.com, with 40.86 per 100 vehicles.

Its council has partnered with the firm EO Charging for its Plug In Coventry scheme, encouraging local businesses to install public fast-charging stations which it funds, operates and maintains.

“Coventry has done an outstanding job,” says EO’s founder, Charlie Jardine.

“They’ve looked at the different requirements for chargers – everything from on-street charging through to charging in key parking locations like train stations, taxi ranks and near public transportation.”

EO Charging founder Charlie Jardine (Photo: EO Charging)
EO Charging founder Charlie Jardine (Photo: EO Charging)

EO Charging has quickly become one of Britain’s biggest success stories in the sector. Focusing on business fleets of cars and vans, it has secured deals with Tesco and Amazon – impressive for a company only launched in 2016.

“We started out of my grandpa’s former pig shed. We had a Portacabin and a shipping container and branded it as a state-of-the-art factory,” Jardine says with a laugh. He believes the Government has a key role “to seed a new industry when the economics don’t stack”.

But he is an optimist and argues that electric charging is becoming more attractive for businesses, so the job of building and running a public network should be “the job of the private sector”.

He says: “When there’s a commercial interest, things start to move quickly, because you’ve got people interested in making money and they move fast.

“The role of local authorities is to actively seek private-sector partners who can deploy the infrastructure,” he adds.

“They just need to remove a barrier to deployment by cooperating actively with people like us.”

Jardine lives in a London flat with only on-street parking but says he has no charging problems. “I have a Tesla Model 3 which I need to charge once every two to four weeks. I either go to a rapid charging hub – Tesla has got a good network – or I drive to our head office in Suffolk.”

Read More - Featured ImageDominic Threlfall, managing director of Pebley Beach (Photo: Dominic Threlfall)EO Charging founder Charlie Jardine (Photo: EO Charging)Read More - Featured Image

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