Electric vehicle drivers in the UK want more powerful public charging points, according to a new report.

The study by Zap Map, an app that provides electric vehicle (EV) owners with charging stations’ status and location, found what the company calls “clear trends” among owners, with fast charging points becoming the most popular locations on the network. The survey of more than 1,600 drivers found that 85 percent used fast chargers, while 86 percent said they had used rapid chargers other than Tesla’s Superchargers.

Overall, the fast chargers, defined as between seven and 22 kW, and rapid chargers (more than 43 kW) were the most popular types of charging points. In total, Zap Map says the proportion of drivers using fast and rapid chargers has risen by 13 percent compared with 2016 and an average annual increase of more than four percent.

Tesla charging station at the M5 motorway services in Bristol England

Zap Map says this is partly due to increased demand for rapid charging, with the increases in rapid charger use not being replicated in slow charger (sub-3 kW) use. However, the company says increased availability of fast and rapid chargers is also playing a part. According to Zap Map’s data numbers of fast and rapid chargers have grown by 27 percent and 43 percent respectively in the past 12 months

And consumers are spending more time using those faster chargers, with Zap Map’s users reporting an increase in charging duration on rapid units over the four years to 2019. The company says 16 percent more users say they are charging for 40 minutes or more and 18 percent fewer are charging in under 40 minutes.

BP Chargemaster ultra-fast charging (150 kW) station

Zap Map says the increase in charging time on rapid charging points, which it describes as “highly significant”, is likely to be due to the higher battery capacities used by newer electric cars, as well as the subsequent increase in range allowing drivers to use the vehicles for longer journeys.

But despite this, Zap Map says EV drivers may also be charging more often, with the survey finding that users arrive at public charging points with a higher battery level than before. Between 2016 and 2018, the surveys reveal a six-percent reduction in users arriving at charging points with less than 20 percent charge remaining.

BP Chargemaster charging station

“Zap-Map’s EV Charging Survey published today provides unique insights into the charging behaviours of EV drivers across the UK – at home, at work and on the public network,” said Dr Ben Lane, the CTO at Zap-Map. “In a market that is doubling every two years, quality information is an essential commodity with which to track and monitor emergent trends. Our objective with the annual EV Charging Survey is to provide just such data to accelerate the EV market in the UK and beyond.”

VW Golf GTE plug-in hybrid electric car charging in central London
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