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New Data Reveals Regional Disparity In Public EV Chargers In The UK

New data reveals a regional disparity in the number of public electric vehicle (EV) chargers in the UK, with London being miles ahead of the rest of the country.

The data showed that in London there were an average of 210 public chargers per 100,000 people, over two and a half times the UK’s average of 80.

The government’s Department for Transport released statistics for January 2024 on EV public charging infrastructure on Wednesday, using data from ZapMap, the popular EV charging point finder app.

The worst region for public chargers was Northern Ireland, with just 24 chargers per 100,000 people, followed by the Northwest of England, with 49 chargers per 100,000 people.

Among the devolved nations, England and Scotland fared the best, with 82 and 84 public chargers per 100,000 people respectively. In England, there was somewhat of a north/south divide, with regions in the north having fewer public charging points per person than those in the south.

Data from England also showed a disparity between urban and rural areas, with over 85% of public chargers located in urban areas. This isn’t surprising, nor is it necessarily a problem, since EV owners in rural areas are more likely to have a place to park their car on their property than their urban counterparts, giving them the option to install an EV home charger.

Overall, the number of public chargers in the UK is increasing every year, going up by 45% between January 2023 and January 2024 to a total of 53,677 chargers.

Man with groceries waiting for electric car to be charged on public charging station near a shopping area

There still aren’t enough rapid chargers or motorway charge points

The Department for Transport’s latest data showed that there is still a lack of rapid chargers, and charging points on motorways across the UK.

This probably wasn’t helped by the fact that the government failed to meet its 2023 target for rapid chargers on motorways.

Looking at the numbers, 59% percent of all public chargers were 3-8 kilowatt (kW) chargers, dubbed “slow” chargers, as they take up to 8 hours to fully charge the average EV – which is fine for people charging their cars near their home overnight, but not so great if you want to stop mid-journey to ‘refuel’.

By contrast, a little under 20% of chargers fell into the “rapid” or “ultra rapid” category, meaning they can fully charge a car in under an hour.

Furthermore, just 7% of public chargers in the UK were classified as “en route” chargers, meaning that they were located in motorway service areas or other mid route points.

Having more rapid chargers, especially on motorways, is essential if the government wants to encourage more people to switch from petrol/diesel cars to EVs.

David Hall, VP of Power Systems UK&I at Schneider Electric, told the “there’s been a lot of focus on the motorway networks and the ultra-fast chargers because that’s the backbone of transport.”

He’s not wrong. Uncertainty over when and where to charge an electric car, and the time it takes to charge an EV, puts many drivers off getting one.

Hybrid cars remain popular for this reason. They give drivers the opportunity to drive electric on short commutes, all while being able to rely on a petrol/diesel tank on long commutes where the probability of finding a charge point that can charge their car in less than an hour is still quite slim.

The government needs to make sure enough public charging is in place before its ban on new petrol and diesel car sales comes into effect in 2035, since the ban will probably lead to a sharp increase in the number of EVs on UK roads and motorways.

Thinking of getting an EV? Being able to charge your car from home overnight will make owning one hassle free. We can help you get quotes for EV home charger installations. All you need to do is fill in our quick form.

For more EV news, read about a new report that suggests EVs will boost UK energy security more than new oil and gas drilling.

Written by:
Tatiana has written about multiple environmental topics, including heat pumps, energy-efficient household products, and solar panels. She is dedicated to demystifying green tech to make eco-friendly living more accessible.
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