UK. Believ warns of stalling UK public EV charging infrastructure

Charge Point Operator (CPO) Believ has released research indicating that many local authorities have fallen behind in their EV infrastructure plans.

According to the CPO’s recent research project, local authorities, including both councils and assemblies, are struggling to implement their electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure plans, reducing the UK government’s chances of reaching its target of 300,000 charge points by 2030.

In 2022, a fifth (20%) of the 100 councils surveyed said they hoped to have local charging infrastructure rolled out within 12 months and almost three-quarters (72%) aimed to do so within three years.

However, in 2024, none of these councils has fully implemented its plans yet; 13% don’t expect to do so any time soon and 47% believe it will now take more than three years.

Despite £57 million of Government and private funding being released in 2023, 34% of respondents have no formal infrastructure plan in place, and most cite a lack of public funding as the biggest roadblock to progress.

It is important to note that the £57 million is a portion of an £800 million funding package dedicated to this infrastructure, which will continue to be released incrementally across the next two or three years.

Over 16,600 additional charge points were installed throughout 2023, but the number of drivers per publicly available charge point rose from 31 to 36 across the UK and from 49 to 85 in the North.

Believ’s CEO, Guy Bartlett, said: “There is no doubt local authorities need more support, more resources and more manpower for the EV charging infrastructure challenges they face, but rather than rely on public sector funding, local authorities can look to the private sector who can plan, install and maintain charge point infrastructure at zero cost to local councils and help them benefit sooner from revenues generated.”

A struggling infrastructure
n The UK EV landscape has faced many obstacles in its development, one of the largest being a lack of charging infrastructure nationwide.

A clear example of this is that the government’s target of installing at least six rapid or ultra-rapid chargepoints at every motorway service area in England by the close of 2023 was been missed by 61%.

As revealed by research published in December 2023 from the RAC, just 46 of the 119 motorway services it reviewed on Zapmap have a target number of EV chargers above 50kW.

The breakdown insurance company revealed that 18 service areas have no charging above 50kW, with four – Leicester Forest on both sides of the M1, Tebay South on the M6, and Barton Park on the A1(M) – having no charging infrastructure at all.

Moreover, a study released by car manufacturer Vauxhall in August 2023 indicated that 71.6% of UK councils have no published strategy for residential on-street EV charging.

The research, which has been gathered via a Freedom of Information application, shows that 69% of local authorities across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are yet to install any on-street chargers.

This has led to 80% of all EV charging in the UK being done at home, Vauxhall said. Considering that approximately 40% of UK households do not have a driveway or access to off-street parking, a figure that rises to 60% in urban areas, a lack of infrastructure leaves the majority of drivers without a public charger.

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