The drive to improve the UK’s Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure

The drive to improve the UK’s Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure

When contemplating whether to adopt electric vehicles (EVs) within your organisation’s fleet, a key concern is the EV chargepoint infrastructure in the UK to ensure business journeys are seamless from door-to-door. There has been a steep increase in the adoption of EVs since 2018 and the rate at which new EV chargepoints are built in the UK continues to catch up with this significant rise in demand.

The Government addressed this challenge in March 2022 and published several different grants to rapidly increase the number of chargepoints in the UK from 2022 to 2030 for both public and private sector organisations. This was to realise visions of a carbon-free transportation sector and to re-focus the strategy from encouraging EV adoption itself to improving chargepoint infrastructure in the UK.

This article explains the current level of EV infrastructure across Britain, along with various solutions that are either in development or available now, that will help organisations to make the transition to an electric fleet.

The Challenge: Supply Versus Demand for EV Chargepoints

The UK is the first of the G7 nations to introduce phase out dates for new petrol, diesel cars, vans, and trucks with visions for a carbon emission free transportation sector by 2050. With the aim to end sales of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2030 and targets being introduced for the sales of clean vehicles from 2024, the private sector has a fundamental role to play in the transition from highly emitting vehicles to EVs.

Data from SMMT shows that between 2021 and 2022, the number of battery-powered electric vehicle (BEV) registrations increased by 48.8% compared to a decrease in diesel and petrol vehicles by 47% and 17.7% respectively. The RAC has published data that shows the steep increase in the number of plug-in vehicles on the road. Between 2018 and 2022, the number of BEVs on the road increased by 530.3% and the number of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) rose by 253%.

Over the last two years, the rate of new sales and registrations of EVs has been faster than the rate at which new EV charge points have been created. Comparing the government electric vehicle charging device statistics reports for 2021 and 2022, the number of public electric vehicle charging devices rose by 24% in this period. Considering the rise in EV registrations for the same period (48.8%), this is approximately half of what would be required to support the new vehicle registrations.

This issue is further complicated when we look at the disparity between charging points across geographic regions in the UK. SMMT explained the ratio between EV to chargepoint in the south of England was 1:30, compared to 1:52 in the north of England. There are 116 charging points in London versus the rest of the UK which ranges from 17 in Northern Ireland at the lowest, and 55 at the highest in Scotland.

The Solution: Significant Investment in Electric Vehicle Chargepoint Infrastructure by 2030

In response to the growing gap between the supply and demand of EV chargepoints, the Government issued a report in March 2022 promising various investments into EV chargepoint development. By 2030, the UK Government aims to build a minimum of 300,000 public chargepoints for EVs but believes there could potentially be more than double this number by this time.

Public chargepoints are important to enable long distance journeys and assist those without access to off-street parking. At present, there are around 400,000 EV charging points in homes across the UK but 40 to 45% of motorists cannot charge their car at home due to space constraints (i.e. living in a flat) or living in an urban area with limited chargepoints.

The £1.6b Government investment in infrastructure development consists of two main strategies. The first is a £950m Rapid Charging Fund which will produce at least 6,000 super-power, rapid chargepoints across England’s motorways by 2035. The second strategy is to require local authorities to create and deploy locally based charging strategies with over £500m of funding now available.

There are various government grants available to encourage this uplift in EV infrastructure. In June 2022, the Government announced that the previous plug-in grants were no longer running due to a renewed focus on improving chargepoint infrastructure. The EV chargepoint grant is available which provides funding of up to 75% of the cost of installing EV smart chargepoints in domestic properties.

Another grant available is the Workplace Charging Scheme which is a voucher-based scheme providing support towards the up-front costs of installation for public sector organisations along with charities and certain eligible businesses.

Additionally, the private sector has supported the development of infrastructure to meet these government targets. In recent news, Connected Kerb have secured £110m investment from Aviva to rollout 190,000 on-street EV chargers by 2030, with 4,000 chargers predicted to be installed by the end of 2022 alone. The chargers will be installed across Aviva’s real estate portfolio to give access to inhabitants who do not have access to off-street parking.

There are many private sector organisations who have achieved Governmental funding for the development of rapid chargepoints, some of which include BP Pulse who aim to double the number of chargepoints in its network to 16,000 by 2030 and install several rapid charging hubs, Shell with plans to install 5,000 rapid and ultra-rapid EV chargepoints in forecourts by 2025 and Motor Fuel Group who have invested £400m to install 2,800 high powered chargepoints by 2030 in 500 UK locations.

Building a Business Case for EV Adoption: Movezero

With significant investment being put into the development of EV chargepoint infrastructure across the UK from both the public and private sector, it’s an ideal opportunity for fleet and mobility managers to start making the switch to fleet electrification.

The Movezero platform is due to launch in full in 2023 as a sustainable solution for the electric mobility market. Movezero will integrate the booking, payment and aggregation of EV charging and a wide range of all-electric transport modes and services into a single eMaaS platform.

While government plans are introduced to strengthen the chargepoint infrastructure in the UK, the team at Movezero have been busy approaching EV market suppliers to integrate within the platform ahead of the launch next year. Users will have access to EV Car Clubs, short-term EV hire, EV flexi-lease, EV chargepoint services and a range of micromobility options.

The EV Car Club, hire and flexi lease options offer a significant degree of flexibility for business journeys, along with the financial and tax benefits of using zero and Ultra Low Emission (ULEV) vehicles. They also provide an ideal solution for testing the viability of switching employees across to electric company cars based on their individual requirements, before committing to long-term leasing contracts or purchasing vehicles outright.