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A quarter of the new chargers that came into service in the first quarter are high-powered devices

Electric vehicle public chargepoints are coming on stream faster than last year, with more than 5,500 installed in the first quarter.

Overall numbers of chargers are 10.5% up on the end of 2023, and 47% higher than a year ago, according to new figures from chargepoint mapping service Zapmap.

The rate of installation is 35% faster than it was during 2023, with 1,900 devices opening each month so far this year, compared with an average of 1,400 per month in the previous 12 months, the data shows.

A quarter of the new chargers that came into service in the first quarter are high-powered devices designed for drivers who need to charge their vehicles quickly.

Osprey was the most active provider in the first quarter, installing more than 350 chargepoints, says Zapmap. It was one of the top five networks, including InstaVolt, Tesla, BP Pulse and Gridserve, which have installed 75% of the rapid and ultra-rapid chargepoints since the end of 2023, and 839 chargers in the first three months of the year.

Notable new entrants include Smart Charge from Sainsbury’s, whose network already comprises almost 190 chargers – over half of which were installed in 2023 – and Applegreen Electric. The latter operates around 160 ultra-rapid devices in the UK, primarily at Welcome Break motorway service areas.

The initial three months of the year also saw 55 new high-powered charging hubs open their doors to drivers, a 20% increase since the end of 2023. That took the total to 319, up from 264 in December.

Zapmap says all areas of the country experienced a rise in the number of charging hubs in the quarter, with Northern Ireland receiving its first two Ionity installations at the Kennedy Centre, Belfast, and at Toomebridge. Eleven new hubs opened in the Southwest of England, taking the total from 19 to 30.

Melanie Shufflebotham, co-founder and chief operating officer at Zapmap, described the rate of increase in the first quarter as “fantastic”, adding: “The strong pace of charger installations seen last year has already been exceeded in 2024. In particular, high-powered chargers and hubs are showing great momentum.”