Is it worth switching to electric vehicles in 2023?
With just seven years left until the 2030 ban of new petrol and diesel vehicles takes effect, many are wondering whether now is the time to make the switch to an electric vehicle.
Robert Byrne, General Manager of adi Vehicle Charging Solutions, a division of multi-disciplinary engineering firm adi Group entirely dedicated to charging point infrastructure solutions, comments on the UK’s journey to EV infrastructure development.
“Concerns about the carbon emissions caused by both petrol and diesel fuel are certainly not news to anyone. There is a clear reason why these measures are being put into place, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t significant challenges ahead,” he says.
“Car owners are understandably wondering what their next steps should be. Other than affordability, many are placing emphasis on the UK’s lack of preparedness with regards to EV infrastructure.
“Ensuring EV owners enjoy the same autonomy and convenience they would with diesel and petrol cars is no easy feat, and investing in the continued development of EV infrastructure is key."
The UK EV infrastructure now
Since 2018, the number of public EV charging points increased from 11,054 to over 37,261 in 2022, meaning charging infrastructure has been developing at a relatively quick pace. But is this rate of growth enough to cater to the needs of EV owners and those who are interested in making the change?
According to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), by 2030 the UK will need 10 times the number of EV charging points it has now to sustain a such a nation-wide change – up to 480,000 public charge points.
In March 2022, the UK Government invested £1.6 billion to allow for more convenient, affordable, and reliable charging across the whole of the UK, in an effort to significantly expand the UK’s charging network to improve consumer experience and facilitate the transition to EVs.
“There are certainly many government-implemented schemes and resources in place to support the transition, one of these being the EV chargepoint grant.
“Millions have been put aside for grants to help individuals and companies into EVs, as well as battery and nuclear power plant development to cater to the new demands this transition will bring about,” says Robert.
And investments from the private sector dedicated to charging infrastructure in the country are also of utmost importance.
Are EV charging points fast enough?
Data shows that since 2016, particular emphasis has been placed on the development of fast charge points (7-22kW), followed by slow (3-6kW), rapid (25-99kW) and ultra-rapid (100kW+) chargers.
To put this into perspective, a slow charging point could take 8-10 hours to fully charge a vehicle, whereas faster charging points may only take 20-60 minutes.
The £950 million Rapid Charging Fund focuses on supporting the development of rapid and ultra-rapid chargepoints across England’s motorways and A roads by 2035, which will be instrumental in equipping major UK roads with the required infrastructure.
And since March 2022, there has been a growth of 88% in the number of ultra-rapid devices across the country, denoting a clear interest in investment in faster charging points.
“It’s entirely understandable that people have concerns as to where they’ll be able to charge their car, how often this will be needed and how quickly they’ll be able to do it. But as the number of EVs in the country increases, so is the number of charging stations, as is evidenced by data,” comments Robert.
“As more and more businesses invest in charging infrastructure, it will become common to find charge points in supermarkets, restaurants, shopping centres and places of work.
“A shift in mindset will also help the transition. EV owners may need more regular top-ups, for instance, as opposed to longer charges overnight. And though adapting will be a challenge, investment in EV manufacturing is key, and doing so in the right ways is even more important.”