Automotive

Charging infrastructure challenges and solutions in the EV Market

23rd January 2023
Kristian McCann

Electric cars are poised to take over the future of the automotive industry, and with the looming UK 2030 petrol and diesel car ban, more carmakers are putting strategies in place to electrify their fleets. And sure enough, EV demand is growing at a staggering pace, in line with increased government and consumer efforts to commit to more sustainable behaviour and practices, claims adi Group.

“Manufacturers and consumers are starting to adapt to an era that inevitably prioritises the wellbeing of our planet, with carmakers making arrangements to cater to this fast-rising demand and end users more interested than ever in making an EV investment, though there are still challenges that need to be addressed,” says Robert Byrne, General Manager of adi Vehicle Charging Solutions, a division the engineering firm adi Group.

Sales of electric cars doubled in 2021, and electric cars made up 15% of all cars sold in the first 10 months of 2022, meaning the market has been on a clear upward trajectory for some time. Adapting to this steadfast growth in a future-proof way means developing the resources required to ensure EV owners enjoy the same autonomy and convenience they would with diesel and petrol cars, assert adi Group.

Making the development of charging networks a priority

The amount of public EV charging points was up by almost 40% in 2021 compared to the previous year, meaning charging infrastructure has been developing at a quick pace, though this may not be enough to appease the needs of EV owners and potential new buyers, says adi Group.

The number of public charging sockets available in the UK is set to increase significantly in the next few years, having already shot up to 36,725 as of November 2022 – a 33% increase in just 12 months. And though there are 8,378 petrol stations open across the UK, a number that may seem surprising in comparison, charging an electric vehicle requires at least 30 minutes and potentially hours, depending on the speed of the charging point, the size of the battery pack and how full the battery is, amongst other factors.

“We must increase our efforts to continue to build the EV charging infrastructure, so as to not hinder growth in an industry with such promising potential. Many are keen to invest in electric cars, but naturally have concerns about usability, many of which are related to charging networks,” says Robert.

“Investing in EV charging infrastructure is quite simply the smartest thing businesses can do at this stage. Governments will continue to facilitate these investments in years to come, and knock down barriers wherever possible. As well as that, embracing the EV drive shows a commitment to ESG values, which is quickly becoming the number one factor attracting customers and investors.” This is evidenced by EV-related companies’ stocks outperforming those of incumbent car manufacturers since 2019, adi Group explain.

What do consumers know?

If all cars on the street were electric, total carbon emissions in the UK would be lowered by almost 12%, a significant step forward in meeting Net Zero targets. “Consumers who are interested in purchasing or already own electric vehicles are fully conscious of the environmental benefits, and investors are following suit – most now consider ESG values the most important or joint most important factor when making an investment. Put simply, both consumers and investors know that investing in electric vehicles means investing in sustainability, which in turn means investing in resilience and reliability,” comments Robert.

Robert explains that while the upfront cost of EVs is high, mainly due to their construction process requiring materials that are more difficult and therefore costly to source – especially given the recent supply chain bottlenecks, it’s also true that ultimately, their maintenance and running costs are significantly lower long-term than those of diesel and petrol vehicles. Servicing these cars tends to be cheaper as there are fewer moving parts and no filters or oil to change, presenting a future-proof, resilient quality that goes hand in hand with the environmental benefits. “End users are well aware of this – they simply expect to have the right resources at their disposal as electric vehicle owners. This means businesses have a significant role to play in facilitating this global movement to electric vehicles,” he adds.

The need for complete, future-proof EV charging solutions

“Whether it’s publicly accessible charging, commercial fleet charging, or visitors and employees charging, EV charging facilities have to be built and designed in the right way. With such a strong need to keep up with demand and with a market that’s developing at such a rapid pace, there’s no room for mistakes,” explains Robert.

“Planning properly prior to building EV charging points involves carrying out feasibility studies, a rigorous equipment selection process and infrastructure design. As well as that, maintenance needs to be prioritised. Proactive maintenance in particular, such as routine inspections and testing, can help avoid a plethora of issues in the long-term.

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