electric charging Prius plug-in hybrid close up

The number of publicly available EV chargers in the UK increased by 34% for the year to October 1, rising by 8,710 to 34,637, according to new experimental statistics published by the Department for Transport.

They showed that as of October 1 this year there were 6,395 chargers that were rated rapid or above and 19,746 that were rated fast chargers.

It defined the different categories of chargers as:

Slow Charging Devices – 3 kilowatts (kW) to 6 kW;

Fast Charging Devices – 7kW to 22kW;

Rapid Charging Devices – 25kW to 100kW;

Ultra-rapid Charging Devices – 100kW-plus.

A quarterly breakdown was also provided, showing that between July 1 and October 1:

  • total installed devices increased by 2,626, an increase of 8%;
  • rapid charging or above devices increased by 421, an increase of 7%;
  • there was an increase in total charging devices and those rated rapid or above in all regions of the UK, except the North East.

The statistics also looked at charger provision by location with 17,179 designated as “destination” chargers, which represents 50% of all charging devices, and 11,218 were designated as “on street” chargers, which represents 32% of the overall total. The remainder is “en-route” charging sites such as motorway service, ferry terminals and electric forecourts, and “other” which are semi-public with some level of access restrictions such as workplace car parks and dealership forecourts.

Geographically, London and Scotland had the highest level of charging provision per 100,000 of population, with 122 and 60 devices per 100,000 respectively. In comparison, the average provision in the UK was 52 per 100,000.

Northern Ireland had the lowest level of charging device provision in the UK, with 18 devices per 100,000, followed by the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber with 30 and 33 devices per 100,000 respectively.

Scotland had the highest rate of rapid device provision with 15.1 rapid or quicker devices per 100,000, while the average provision in the UK was 9.5 per 100,000. Rapid or quicker device provision was lowest for Northern Ireland with 1.2 rapid or quicker devices per 100,000. Wales and the North West were the second and third lowest regions with 7.0 and 7.5 rapid or quicker devices per 100,000 respectively.

Jon Lawes, Managing Director of Novuna Vehicle Solutions welcomed the increase but warned it was not enougg, saying: “There are now a million electric cars on UK roads. That’s a tremendous achievement, one that has taken many in the industry by surprise, but we cannot allow success to breed complacency. 2,626 new public chargepoints is more than we have seen installed in any comparable period in the past decade, but it is still not enough.

“Demand for public devices continues to rise considerably faster than supply. The ratio of ratio of vehicles to chargepoints has grown from 5:1 to 15:1 in just three years, and we forecast will hit 54:1 by 2030. Without an urgent acceleration of the Government’s EV infrastructure strategy under the new administration, we will be tied to petrol and diesel far longer than we need to be.”

Kim Royds, director of EVs at British Gas, commented: “The universal adoption of EVs will only happen if the supporting charging infrastructure is widely available and easily accessible. This means extending chargepoints beyond towns and cities and into all public spaces, including in rural and remote areas.

“Local councils have an important role to play in offering these provisions and helping to expand the UK’s EV charging infrastructure. Our research found that councils are planning to double publicly available chargepoints, with 16,500 to be installed over the next 12 months – a great step in towards an electric future.

“While this is encouraging, we must start to see more joined up investment across public spaces, privately owned-premises and at home charging if we want the roll out EVs to be successful.”