There is no need or commercial case for the largest electric vehicle (EV) chargers that are being proposed, according to an expert in the car charging industry.
Clive Southwell, sales director UK & Ireland, of Enel X, an international company working in car charging, was speaking at a conference organised by the Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum last month.
He said: “Everybody tells me we should have 100 to 350 kilowatt chargers. Not the case, there’s no commercial demand for that whatsoever.”
He explained that currently Porsche manufactures the only electric car capable of taking such high charges, adding: “You talk to the major OEM car companies. They don’t envisage cars accepting much more than 100 kilowatts on average.
“So if you’re a commercial operator, why are you going to invest in anything that’s more than maybe 150 kilowatt, you’re not going to get a return on that investment.”
Southwell also criticised the lack of an overall national plan for the charging network in the UK. He said: “There’s not a cohesive national plan, so what you get in various locations is a proliferation of lots of chargers, too many in one area from competing charge point operators, where there’s others where there aren’t enough.
“So to do that properly we have to have a plan. Somebody has to say what is the requirement in this area and then planning only allow that amount in that area. We don’t want them on every street corner.”
A lack of interoperability is also an issue in the UK, according to Southwell. He said: “Interoperability means the ability of you, as a driver, to be able to charge on any charger that you want and use one charge card, one app, whatever. It works in Europe where people have interoperability across 26 countries and over 100,000 charge points. In the UK we have about 30 networks that don’t talk to each other. Is that the experience that we should have as a driver? It’s not.”