Electric car charger rollout must be ‘top priority’ as car ban nears
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Newly released data shows that there were more than 8,700 public chargers installed in the UK between December 2021 and 2022, bringing the total to more than 37,000. This represents a 30 percent year-on-year increase, although it is slower than the 38 percent annual growth in sales of battery electric vehicles.
In March, the Department for Transport and the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles unveiled plans to install 300,000 public EV chargers by 2030.
This is the equivalent of almost five times the number of petrol and diesel pumps across Britain’s roads today.
The rollout is being backed by the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy, and a further £1.6billion boost.
Boris Johnson, who was Prime Minister at the time, said the Government was “powering ahead” with plans to help Britons go electric.
It is estimated that year-on-year growth of 30 percent in the number of chargers installed would be enough to hit the target.
However, this would require annual installations to more than double to 19,000 by 2025 and continue to accelerate from there.
Justin Godfrey-Cass, Head of Transport Solutions at Wireless Logic, commented on the challenges the Government faces in rolling out chargers.
He said: “Despite the Government’s commitment to installing EV charging points, unfortunately, the wider rollout has been hampered by planning constraints, cost of installation, need for access, and the need for resilient and highly secure two-way connectivity in locations where wired infrastructure isn’t always readily available.
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“If the Government wants to make it a viable option for consumers to use electric vehicles, they must ensure that charging points meet the demands of electric vehicle sales.
“First and foremost, new charging points must meet the needs of the consumer.
“EV users expect a charge point to be fully operational at all times, keep their data secure, and bill them correctly, this will generate customer loyalty, repeat visits, and hopefully new customers.”
He says this can be achieved through charge point operators (CPOs) making a number of changes to streamline the experience for motorists.
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This could include ensuring that the connection is secure, resilient and reliable, allowing CPOs to monitor them and maintain driver confidence.
The Government has been keen to massively upgrade the number of EV chargers so that drivers invest in electric and meet net zero targets.
The Government plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030, followed by a similar ban on plug-in hybrid vehicles five years later.
Petrol, diesel and hybrid HGVs over 26 tonnes could be banned from 2040, subject to a Government consultation.
Mr Godfrey-Cass added: “If something goes wrong with an EV charging point, operators need to know immediately, in order to avoid revenue loss and or reputational damage.
“As the EV charge point rollout begins to take form, they will ultimately represent critical national infrastructure to the public and businesses, so the importance of having secure connectivity cannot be overlooked.
“By deploying a highly resilient and secure charging solution, CPOs can provide a much more seamless and trusted charging experience for the customer.
“Everything from booking a charging time to providing WiFi hotspots and digital signage whilst you wait.”
In the Government’s March 2022 spending pledge, it was announced that public chargers would require a 99 percent reliability rate at rapid charge points.
As has been highlighted by many experts, this would help eradicate “range anxiety” and ensure that the charging experience for all is “world-class”.
Justin Godfrey-Cass concluded: “The Government and construction companies must make this top priority.”
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