Electric vehicle charging: it's all about location, location, location

As electric vehicle use grows in the UK so will our reliance on public charging.

The UK is currently the second largest market in Europe for the purchase of electric vehicles (Source: The Guardian) with more than 500,000 new electric vehicles (EVs) registered in the five months up to the end of May of this year (Source Nextgreencar.com). With the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans banned from 2030 and the sale of new hybrids vehicles following only five years later a substantial increase in the demand for charging infrastructure is inevitable. Add to this that over 40% of the population, a figure which increases in urban areas, are unable to charge at home and the number of EV users reliant on public charging is going to increase dramatically in the forceable future.

Public charging models:

Recharging: This can take up to 12 hours depending on the rate of charge. When planning locations for customers to charge it needs to be somewhere they are expected to be for a substantial length of time.

  • Workplace: employees can be parked at work for an average of 8 hours a day and could use charge points at work to allow them to completely charge their battery.
  • On-street: allows residents to charge up, often overnight, outside their property even if they don’t have a driveway or the ability to charge at home.
  • Near home: these could be locations that are used alternatively during the day (potentially as top-up locations) and would otherwise sit empty overnight. For instance a car park could provide an opportunity for local residents, with no access to home charging to use these locations to charge overnight and walk to collect their car the next morning.

Top-up charging: This can range from 30 minutes up to 2-3 hours. Although this type of charging can, of course, be done at all the charge points locations above there are sites where only top-up charging is suitable due to what is co-located there.

  • Destination: this could be a shopping centre or tourist destination where visitors are naturally kept busy for several hours.
  • En-route: these locations need to be carefully designed so that they offer enough variety and attractions for visitors to spend up to a couple of hours.

Investment and strategy need to drive demand

Building a national network of reliable and accessible EV charging points is crucial not only to support the growing popularity of electric vehicles but also to drive the adoption on further, which is important to help combat climate change. With over 78% of respondents to a recent YouGov survey agreeing that the charging network is currently not adequate, charge point locations cannot be left to chance. Local councils need to work with landowners to develop a strategy to ensure there are enough public charging points in the right locations to alleviate any charging or range anxiety. They also need to engage with internet service providers to guarantee that every newly installed charge point is connected and can provide live data to potential users so they can be sure the charger they are driving to is working and available.

Future proofing your charging locations

As charging technology improves, both at the charge point and reception on the car, the reliance on slow chargers at home will be supplemented by readily available fast chargers at convenient locations nationally. The charging anxiety experienced by some potential users will diminish as the charging network evolves, and journeys can be planned with multiple options for rapid charging points en-route.


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