The UK’s EV charging network is larger than you think

It’s time several misconceptions around electric vehicles (EVs) were put to bed, writes Poppy Welch, head of Go Ultra Low, the joint government and industry campaign to promote the uptake of electric vehicles.

Have you considered making the switch to an electric car? You’re not alone if you have, the revolution towards electric vehicles continues apace with new fully electric car registrations up 122% so far this year alone.

There are now almost 245,000 electric cars on the road and that number is increasing by a factor of more than 4,000 a month. But as the number of cars on the road increases, the charging infrastructure needs to grow to meet demand.

Public perception is certainly lagging when it comes to the public charging network. In a recent survey by Go Ultra Low, 45% of respondents said improved infrastructure would increase their likelihood of purchasing an EV; yet the existing network has over 26,000 charge point connectors at more than 9,500 locations, with almost 500 new devices installed in the past 30 days alone.

As well as this, a recent government announcement committed £70m worth of investment into the UK’s rapid charge network, resulting in the delivery of a further 3,000 chargers by 2024.

Off the beaten track

A common misconception is that the charging network is focused on urban areas, with those driving EVs across the country at risk of finding themselves without somewhere to charge. Yet motorists can recharge at locations from John O’Groats to Land’s End.

Earlier this year, Go Ultra Low worked to highlight the extensiveness of the charging network with a series of ten scenic photographs. The photos showed charge points in picturesque and unexpected locations, featuring beautiful landscapes in the highlands of Scotland and along the south coast to name but a few. As the image shows, electric vehicle owners can now enjoy driving with confidence for longer stretches as charging infrastructure is spreading to all sorts of locations.

Finding new ways to charge

A concern for motorists without off-street parking – who therefore cannot install their own dedicated charge point – is that they will struggle to find somewhere to charge their vehicle. However, a number of recent developments in charge point technology are helping to allay these fears.

New technologies such as lamppost charge points, which use existing lamppost structures, enabling EV owners to access charging without using up valuable pavement space is just one advancement.

The government is also supporting local authorities to install chargepoints located on street and in publicly owned car parks for residents without access to off street charging. As well as this, we are also seeing trials of chargepoints that retract fully underground into the pavement when not in use.

How quickly can they charge?

Although the majority of charging takes place overnight at owners’ homes, it takes less time to charge a car on-the-go than you might think. Our research has found that almost half the public (44%) thinks it takes over 2 hours to charge a car when, in reality, a rapid charger could charge up to 80% of the battery in around 30 minutes.

These can be found at almost every motorway service station across the UK, as well as strategic locations such as supermarkets and shopping centres.

Investment from Highways England will also mean that drivers on motorways and major A roads will never be more than 20 miles from a rapid charger. These developments show that those considering an EV will have access to a constantly growing rapid charging network.

More convenient than ever before

When it comes to running an EV, the convenience of the charging network is only part of the story. There are countless other benefits from lower maintenance and running costs, to low road tax and exemption from both the London Congestion and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

It’s clear that owning and running an electric vehicle is becoming increasingly popular. For those considering the switch, you’ll find all the information you might need on grants, the savings on offer and the models available at goultralow.com

Photo Credit – Go Ultra Low

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Poppy Welch

Head of Go Ultra Low.

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