Can the UK handle the acceleration of EV numbers?

1st December 2017
Lanna Cooper


Analysis from vehicle finance provider Moneybarn, shows that the UK infrastructure might be unable to support the growing number of Electric Vehicles (EVs) on the road.

Numbers of EVs are expected to rise to 700,000 by 2020 and at the end of last year, there were 100,000 Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) in the UK for only 4,615 electric charging stations. This equates to just one charging station every 53 miles. In contrast, there are petrol stations available on average every 29 miles.

Most pure-electric vehicles need to be charged every 100 miles. This means the current number of charging stations could leave motorists dangerously low on charge and out of range for stations during long journeys and non-motorway travel.

In addition, only 2,500 of the 14,000 electric chargers fall into the ‘rapid’ category which, charges EVs in around 30 minutes. The majority are ‘fast’ chargers which take 3-4 hours - inconvenient for on-the-go charging.

The UK will need a range of technologies for managing electrical consumption to meet an estimated rise of up to 15% in overall demand and to prevent spikes of up to 40% at peak times.

One suggestion has been for drivers to ensure they recharge their EVs overnight when spare power capacity is abundant to avoid power outages. However, 43% of households have no off-street parking, so many drivers will be unable to recharge vehicles overnight in garages or driveways.

The government has introduced the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill in Parliament and aims to invest more than £1.2bn in the industry, to try and combat some of these issues. However, it’s uncertain whether these changes will happen in time to significantly help motorists, who already own an electric vehicle.

Sales and Marketing Director of Moneybarn, Simon Bayley, commented: “While it’s great to see a rise in the adoption of electric vehicles, UK infrastructure needs to keep up. Motorists need peace of mind they can complete journeys without the worry of running out of power or long charging delays. It will be interesting to see how the government responds to this growing need.”

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