Racing forward: EV Charging in the UK

UPDATE 24/05/21: A £300 million investment has been announced in low carbon projects including 1800 ultra-rapid charging points across UK motorway service stations (building on the existing 918 already in operation) and 1750 rapid chargepoints for urban areas such as rail stations and city centres. We have just the right cables to deliver that grid-to-car solution!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57225856

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With the recent news that the UK has officially overtaken France as Europe’s second largest electric car market, behind the EV leader Germany we’re taking a look into the ever expanding UK EV charging point network.

The past few years has seen a dramatic increase in the number of public EV charge points in the UK. Between the end of 2016 and 2020 there has been an increase of 220% in the number of public chargers. Another trend is the growth in slow chargers, as local authorities install on-street charging options to enable EV purchase for people without off-street parking. There’s also the 350kW ultra-rapid DC charger network is fast spreading across the UK and Europe, designed to enable drivers to recharge their electric vehicles in under 20 minutes. It’s a network that will only expand as uptake increases.

Ubitricity which has now been acquired by Shell, is the largest public EV charging network in the UK with 3491 devices across the UK making up 14.8% of the current market (figures as of 6th May 2021) but just how many charging points are there in the UK and where are they located?

Distribution of UK charging points by geographical area

The total number of public access charging points in the UK is 23376 with the Greater London area being the prime location with 31% overall.

Location Number Percentage
Greater London 7251 31
South East 3091 13.2
Scotland 2400 10.3
South West 1677 7.2
North West 1552 6.6
East of England 1459 6.2
West Midlands 1443 6.2
East Midlands 1198 5.1
Yorkshire & the Humber 1193 5.1
Wales 861 3.7
North East 809 3.5
Northern Ireland 327 1.4
Isle of Man 64 0.3
Channel Islands 51 0.2

Source: How many charge points are there in the UK 2021 (zap-map.com)

There’s no disputing e-mobility industry has grown rapidly over the past few years, the number of charging points continue to increase and whilst there's been significant investment in public charging points, the UK will need to spend around £1.6bn on more public points for the estimated seven million EVs that will be on the road by 2030.

As of the end of April 2021 there were more than 515,000 plug-in vehicles with approx. 245,000 BEVs and 270,000 PHEVs registered. Last year saw the biggest annual increase in number of registrations, with more than 175,000 electric vehicles registered showing a growth of 66% on 2019 – and that’s in spite of a global pandemic. The next question is what further advancements will 2021 bring?