Are we ready to charge ahead?
Pierre Jeannes, Vice President of Operations for Mr. Electric explains the need to upscale the UK electric charging infrastructure.
Electric vehicles (EV) are becoming increasingly popular as both consumers and businesses are looking for new ways to reduce rising fuel bills and become more green, with many regarding them as the future of motoring.
As demand for environmentally friendly options increases and technology develops, we will undoubtedly see a rise in the number of alternatively fuelled vehicles on our roads. It is predicted that EV’s will outsell fossil-fuel powered vehicles within two decades as battery prices plunge. The UK is seeing a growing number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road – since 2012 the EV stock is doubling year on year.
The registration of new cars hit a 12-year high in 2017, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, and electric vehicles made up a record share of these numbers with more than 47,000 plug-in cars registered over the course of 2017 in the UK. Government grants for alternatively-fuelled vehicles (pure and hybrid electric vehicles) have contributed to the accelerated purchasing of EV’s, coupled with a growing trend among environmentally and economically-minded drivers.
The drive towards a low carbon economy and EV development has been made a priority by the UK Government. It announced the introduction of the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill to set requirements for the provision of charging points and then pledged over £500m to fund the charging network and provide grants for plug-in-hybrids (Autumn 2017 Budget). The Government also stated that it would ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
The industry is also showing commitment to this market and has demonstrated an understanding of how electric vehicles have the ability to revolutionise travel – making the roads quieter, the air cleaner and creating a more pleasant environment. Many of the top manufacturers are now offering a number of EV’s as part of their model range. Volvo, for example, is leading the way with their declaration to only manufacture electric or hybrid vehicles from 2019 and Volkswagen is planning to invest some US$12bn by 2025 to develop and manufacture electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. BP and Shell service stations are planning to install charge points across the UK and Southern Rail has begun an upgrade project of its free-to-use EV charging point network, installing them at key stations.
EV Charging Infrastructure
Having the commitment from the UK government and industry is all very well, but one of the biggest challenges facing the widespread acceptance of EVs in the UK is the current shortage in EV charging infrastructure.
But, can the supply of EV charging infrastructure catch up with the demanding growth of EV demand? If the UK wants to be a world leader in this market, we need to put a charging infrastructure network in place – including boosting residential power grids, installing smart technologies and investing in workplace and public charging points.
Evidence suggests that the UK network of EV charging points is on the rise. It has increased from a few hundred in 2011 to more than 5,400 charging locations, 9,100 charging devices and 15,600 connectors by March 2018, with numbers rising every month (source: Zap Map). The proportion of charger types has also changed significantly during that time with a surge in high power (rapid) units being installed across the UK.
We believe that the ongoing growth of EV ownership in the UK will be reliant on the wider availability of charging infrastructure for consumers and businesses, particularly as prices come down and technology improves. Our collaboration with Rolec EV couldn’t have come at a better time, particularly as the Government mounts pressure for us to make more environmentally sound choices about our vehicles. Together we are now able to provide cost-effective high-quality and reliable EV charging solutions to both existing and new EV drivers. We have the expertise to help provide the technical products, skills and manpower to install EV charging points, whether that be at home, work or in public access points.
In conclusion, if we are to see a national network of high-powered EV charging stations grow, there needs to be greater public and private investment in developing the necessary technology to roll out the infrastructure needed. As expert electrical installers, our network of electricians are ready now to support those wanting to realise the opportunities in EV charging.
Mr. Electric is the UK’s leading electrical franchise brand and is an authorised OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles) installer of electric vehicle charging points. It’s network of franchised electrical businesses is able to install and manage electrical vehicle car charging points for homes, workplaces and public areas throughout the UK. For further information about Mr. Electric and the services it can provide, visit www.mr-electric.co.uk or call 0800 7311 606.