Electric vehicle (EVs) charge point providers have hit back at claims that the current network is ‘unreliable’.
A survey by the website Click4Reg.co.uk claimed 88% of EV drivers believe the current public charge network in the UK is ‘unreliable’ and a similar number (82%) believe the government is not keeping up with the demand for public EV charge points.
The survey also found 96% of EV drivers are dissatisfied with public charge points and almost three quarters (74%) said the availability of charge points was a key factor in deciding where to park.
‘The number of charge points for electric vehicles are severely lagging behind in relation to the number of electric cars being purchased each year,’ said the managing director of Click4Reg.co.uk, Eli Fakhoury.
‘If the government wants to encourage more people to go green, more must be done to make charging seem as hassle-free as getting petrol or diesel from the station. After all, this is why a shocking 77% of petrol and diesel car owners we surveyed are choosing not to drive electric vehicles.’
Tom Callow, the director of communications and strategy at Chargemaster said he did not recognise the figures quoted by Click4Reg.co.uk and the lack of infrastructure is ‘a perceived problem’ rather than ‘a real problem’.
‘The overall view on the UK charging capacity is generally speaking pretty good,’ he told Environment Journal.
‘We have on our network in excess of a 99% reliability level,’ he added. ‘We can’t comment on other people’s networks, but the majority of charging happens at home. Over 40,000 EV drivers already use our network in the UK and many of them do not have off-street parking, so they use public charge points for all of their driving and they will do 10-20,000 miles plus a year quite happily on the public charging network.
‘There is adequate infrastructure for the number of EVs currently on the market. The infrastructure is expanding every week. We are putting in charging points every week. The numbers will keep up. We predict that the UK will go from a public charging network of around 14,000 charging points today to around 100,000 public charging points by 2022. The number of EVs will go up to about 1 million by 2022.’
The chief executive of smart charging manufacturer EO Charging, Charlie Jardine, commented: ‘To say the UK’s public charging infrastructure is unreliable may well be a fair comment.
‘However, if you look at which charging stations are faulty, I would guess that most are first generation chargers that were deployed over four and five years ago.
‘The UK’s first charge point manufacturers established themselves around 2009 and inevitably their first products had technical issues. Being the first to market, I believe this will always happen. However, most newly installed infrastructure is much more reliable.
‘Manufacturers have learnt the hard way and customers are now more savvy with their infrastructure selection. Manufacturers are not only improving the products from a technical standpoint but they are really focusing on improving the user experience, which historically has been quite poor.’