‘Charge anxiety’ dampens EV uptake

Range anxiety has been replacing by charging anxiety among potential EV drivers.

This is according to the Volkswagen Financial Services UK data insights team.

It found that the creation of a robust, reliable, and fit for purpose public charging infrastructure that enjoys the full confidence of EV drivers is central to mainstream adoption of electric cars.

Forecasts outlined by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) suggest that up to 480,000 public charging points will be needed across the UK by 2030. In addition, according to estimates published by the European Commission, every 10 electric vehicles on the road require one public charger solution.

Therefore, with 460,000 Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) currently on the road in the UK, the present availability of 31,000 public chargers, as of April 2022, might appear insufficient.

However, these statistics seem to ignore one vitally important factor: there are also approximately 300,000 home chargepoints installed across the UK, which leaves just 160,000 BEV drivers without a home charger. This vastly reduces the dependency on the public network. If it’s only the remaining 160,000 BEV drivers that need regular access to public chargers, the 31,000 currently available means the UK has almost double the suggested requirement outlined by the European Commission.

Figures from the Department for Transport up to July 2021 demonstrate that London and the South East benefit from a disproportionately higher number of public charging points per capita when compared with other areas around the UK.

Based on public charging points per 100,000 people, drivers in London and the South East enjoy access to 128 charge points. This is more than Wales (29), Scotland (47) and Northern Ireland (17) combined.

The North also falls short when compared with the capital and the South East. This fact is demonstrated by figures showing the North West has 22 public charging points per 100,000 people, the North East has 33 and Yorkshire & The Humber just 21.

Mike Coulton, EV consultant at Volkswagen Financial Services UKsaid: “We’ve never had more EVs on our roads than we do right now, which is fantastic news, but the challenge is to ensure that the public charging network keeps pace with the rising popularity of electric cars. It’s fair to say that a postcode lottery of public chargepoints exists in the UK and may be contributing to perceived charging anxiety among EV drivers, but significant Government funding coupled with ambitious decarbonisation targets should ensure this problem levels out.

“However, as our research shows, the conundrum of a lack of overall public charge points is a common misconception, as the number of home chargepoints is largely ignored. The focus now should be on making sure that public chargepoints are easily accessible via contactless payment, are reliable and deliver the advertised power (particularly relevant for ultra-rapid chargers), and are evenly spread in sufficient numbers across the UK.”