Moto Hospitality is predicting that 393,750 EV drivers will be on the road over the weekend, with Surge Saturday, the busiest day for EV charging on UK roads ever.
The motorway services says significant increases in EV ownership in recent years, combined with one of the busiest holiday getaway weekends of the year, is set to put the UK’s network of EV charging hubs to the test, with queues widely expected at sites located on major routes to holiday destinations including the South West, Wales, Cumbria, Scotland and the North East.
Moto is expecting to deliver a record one million EV kilometres in charging output across its network this Saturday alone.
Despite its roll-out of ultra-rapid EV chargers on the UK motorways Moto still believes queues at some locations are unavoidable. In response it will be working with its partners at Tesla and Gridserve to provide marshals at key sites throughout the weekend and into the school summer holidays. Marshals will help to manage the flow of EV traffic, identify available chargers and bays, and ensure the safety of EV drivers and nearby pedestrians, as well as providing reassurance and a visual presence to coordinate motorists during busy times.
Moto CEO Ken McMeikan is however warning that marshalling won’t be a long-term solution to queues and that ultimately much more power is required for the charging capacity which is needed in order to service demand. He said: “This weekend’s queues will unfortunately be inevitable if more action isn’t taken to support charging providers’ roll-out of Ultra-Rapid EV charging. The UK needs to decarbonise, and the switch to EV is one of the most important elements of that. However, as charging providers, time and time again we‘re being confronted by significant barriers in our ambition to make that switch easier for motorists.”
His comments come as Moto launches its ‘Motofesto’, which lifts the lid on some of the major barriers that industry faces in addressing the electric charging supply gap. In particular, it points to the challenges that Moto and others are facing when it comes to securing power and the necessary National Grid connections.
McMeikan continued: “Upscaling and maintaining an ultra-rapid charging network for our strategic road network alone would need grid capacity equivalent to the average annual electricity usage of nearly three quarters of a million homes by 2030 – more than three times as many homes as there are in Cumbria. It’s a huge power challenge that is underestimated and underappreciated by government. We can secure and install the chargers relatively easily, but delivering power to those chargers is becoming a major issue.”
Moto claims that at the current rate of development, industry will not be able to secure access to the levels of power output needed without changes to the way the Government, DNOs, charging providers and others collaborate to deliver charging infrastructure.
Among other recommendations, the Motofesto calls on the government to designate public EV infrastructure as ‘nationally significant’ and speed up planning consents for network connections, or risk having UK motorists being forced to queue for hours at a time in order to charge their car at a public charging hub.