Chargepoint anxiety worse than reality, believes Volkswagen UK
Mike Coulton says that the UK’s ‘postcode lottery’ of ChargePoint availability is distorting the reality. There are 300,000 home charge points installed across the UK, leaving 160,000 BEV drivers without a home charger – this means that dependency on the public network is reduced.
The 31,000 public chargers currently available in the UK are actually double the suggested requirement by the European Commission, which suggests every ten electric vehicles on the road require one public charger solution.
This counteracts the belief that with 460,000 BEVs on UK roads, having 31,000 to go around would be insufficient, and that according to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), up to 480,000 public charging points will be needed across the UK by 2030.
However, VWFS is keen to point out that there is still much to be done in regards to the EV infrastructure. “It’s not the number of public chargers that is the concern – it is the accessibility, reliability and geography of charge points that require attention and investment from both the automotive industry and the Government,” VWFS says.
It reports that according to Department for Transport figures, London and the South East have a disproportionately higher number of public charging points per capita when compared with other areas around the UK.
“Based on public charging points per 100,000 people, drivers in London and the South East enjoy access to 128 charge points. This is more than Wales (29), Scotland (47) and Northern Ireland (17) combined,” a statement from VWFS says. The North West has just 22 public charging points per 100,000 people, while the North East has 33 and Yorkshire & The Humber has just 21.
This is all contributing to ‘range anxiety’ – when drivers fear electric vehicles wouldn’t travel far enough on a single charge to get them where they needed to go – being replaced by ‘charging anxiety’, fermented by worries that the current public charging infrastructure is not widespread, accessible or reliable enough.
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The Government’s £450 million Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) fund aims to back projects such as EV charging hubs and on-street charge points whilst also mitigating regional disparities, but VWFS believes the “concerns over a lack of public charge points are perhaps misplaced”.
“We’ve never had more EVs on our roads than we do right now, which is fantastic news, but the challenge is to ensure that the public charging network keeps pace with the rising popularity of electric cars,” says Mike Coulton, EV Consultant at Volkswagen Financial Services UK.
“It’s fair to say that a postcode lottery of public charge points exists in the UK and may be contributing to perceived charging anxiety among EV drivers, but significant Government funding coupled with ambitious decarbonisation targets should ensure this problem levels out.
However, as our research shows, the conundrum of a lack of overall public charge points is a common misconception, as the number of home charge points is largely ignored. The focus now should be on making sure that public charge points are easily accessible via contactless payment, are reliable and deliver the advertised power (particularly relevant for ultra-rapid chargers), and are evenly spread in sufficient numbers across the UK.” Mike Coulton continued.