EV Charging network situation

Introduction

The EV charging infrastructure market is young and fragmented, it is expected to become profitable only when EVs make up at least five per cent of vehicles in circulation, or about two million units.

Home charging

The average residential charge (what it costs to charge at home) is £0.14/kWh.

Deloitte says currently around 90% of electric vehicle owners have access to private charge points at home or at work, however by 2030 this will mean that 43% of car owners will not have a driveway or access to private charging.

Need to use chargers away from home

For most motorists the majority of journeys can be powered from an overnight charge at home or close by therefore not requiring En-route charging. Around-town chargers at supermarkets, coffee shops

Number of chargers

Autocar says: Currently there are 13,702 public chargers with a total of 23,280 connectors across the UK, according to the latest data from popular charging locator app Zap-Map

Deloitte estimate that the UK will need around 28,000 public charge points and to invest a further £1.6 billion in the infrastructure by 2030.

Number of networks

The sheer number of charger providers is one problem. Zap-Map lists more than 50, each with their own network and, sometimes, their own monopoly of a location. Ecotricity, for example, signed exclusive agreements with motorway service station operators such as Welcome Break

Unreliability

A snapshot provided by ZapMap for 29 May showed that almost a quarter of chargers were out of service. Of those, 7.5% were flagged up with a problem while 16% were not communicating their status, leading Zap-Map to assume they were not working. Ecotricity has been singled out multiple times for the poor reliability of its chargers.

Payment

To foster loyalty, a charger provider might require you to become a member and pay a monthly fee in return for cheaper charging. That might work fine if you stay in that network but, with more than 50 charger operators, it’s almost impossible. 

Autocar reports Conservative MP Bill Wiggin, who tabled a Private Members’ Bill to try to bring some order to the payment system. “Electric vehicle users in the UK are currently disadvantaged compared with our European neighbours due to our lack of an interoperable payment system for EV charging,” he told parliament in November last year. 

How charging should be

Deloitte: The opportunities around electric vehicle charge points in the UK – July 2020

Autocar: Unreliable charging infrastructure preventing EV rollout Research suggests quality, not quantity, is the problem for Britain’s charging infrastructure

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