The UK now has twice as many electric vehicle (EV) charging points as petrol stations, according to new government figures. Data released yesterday (June 11) by the Department for Transport (DfT) showed almost 18,000 electric car charging points are now dotted around the UK.
In comparison, the country currently boasts just over 8,000 petrol stations, according to figures from the UK Petroleum Industry Association. The news comes less than 12 months after it was revealed that the number of charging points had overtaken petrol stations for the first time, highlighting the speed at which EV infrastructure has been introduced.
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The government figures, which were correct as of April 1, 2020, show a 402-percent increase in the number of charging points since 2015, with a 61 percent increase seen between 2018 and 2019. More than 1,400 new charging points were installed in the first three months of 2020 alone.
Of the 17,947 publicly accessible electric car charging stations available as of April 1, just over 3,100 were “rapid” chargers that have the ability to top up cars’ batteries more quickly. On such chargers, many modern electric cars, including the Audi e-tron and DS 3 Crossback E-Tense can achieve an 80 percent charge in less than an hour.
Edmund King, the president of the AA, said the perception that charging points were lacking was false, and needed to change.
“One of the myths we urgently need to clear up is a perceived lack in charging points,” he said. “With a 61-percent year-on-year increase and more public charge points being installed every week, it should give confidence to drivers that they will be able to get home in an electric car.
"However, if drivers feel they cannot find a charge point then more needs to be done. Changing the sign could help them stand out, as well as finding solutions to those who want to charge their car at home, but do not have a dedicated off-street parking space.
“Encouraging drivers to make the switch to electric cars will also encourage both councils and businesses to install charging infrastructure. We believe that further incentives are required to ease the transition to lower emission vehicles such as cutting VAT on the sale of certain vehicles or targeted scrappage schemes.”
Despite the government figures, and King’s insistence that charging infrastructure is more plentiful than many believe, the data does reveal something of a postcode lottery for would-be EV owners.
On average, the UK has 27 public chargers per 100,000 people, but that’s noticeably lower in Northern Ireland, as well as Yorkshire and the Humber. Across those regions, there are just 16 chargers per 100,000 people. Meanwhile in London, there are 57 chargers for every 100,000 inhabitants.