Expenditure on Charging Points in the UK
Despite the global sales decline in 2020 following the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Kingdom is already acting on its otherwise growing popularity of EVs. This is apparent due to the UK government’s use of major funding incentives to help upscale its EV charging infrastructure, and of course, its recent plans to ban petrol and diesel cars by the year 2030.
Nevertheless, there are still many requirements that need to be met with regard to charging infrastructure in support of EV adoption. These include the following:
- The demand for increased smart grid technologies for supporting users’ charging of electric vehicles in their homes
- The demand for supporting growing EV adoption rates by upscaling public charging infrastructure (one potential example of this could be the integration of battery swapping stations)
- The need to render the sales of battery electric vehicles more accessible by introducing lower EV prices and an increase in the number of public charging points
Keeping in view the challenges of increasing EV adoption, such as those above, the government and industry leaders have agreed on providing a better framework for realising the infrastructure of EV charging. This initiative could bring a lot more confidence to both the industrial sector and road users in general.
An array of unattended electric vehicle charging stations in a car park. Image Credit: Bigstock.
No More UK Petrol and Diesel Cars by 2030
The UK government has announced that there will be a ban on the country’s sale of new diesel and petrol cars by the year 2030. According to Oxford City Council, there are already plans underway to achieve a Zero Emission Zone in Oxford’s city centre.
Volkswagen, moreover, has already announced that it will invest $12 billion by 2025 for the development of EVs and plug-in hybrid vehicles. And on top of this, the UK government recently publicised its many ambitions for electric vehicles during ‘World EV Day’ 2020.
What Needs to be Done?
A Proper Strategy Needs to be Developed
For charging infrastructure in the UK to support EV adoption, the government needs to develop a proper roadmap that can demonstrate the type of charging infrastructure that the country requires. It also needs to discuss any further investments that still need to be made across the UK’s electrical power transmission and distribution networks.
People Need to be Further Educated About EVs
Besides the funding and investments, it is essential that the government continues to educate people about both the environmental and economic benefits of electric vehicles.
Events such as the aforementioned World EV Day play a big part in developing the public’s interests and understanding of the importance of EVs—with the multi-million pounds’ worth of EV investments from government company Highways England being just one clear example of what the UK has brought to the international event.
An example of how off-street parking can be used as a means to charge an electric vehicle (EV). Pictured: a user charges their EV in the comfort of their own home. Image Credit: Bigstock.
Off-street Parking Options Need to be Improved
Despite the said importance of increased EV charging stations, the UK’s adoption of electric vehicles could still be hindered if public EV charging points are inefficient and/or simply hard to access (for instance, consider charging stations that are surrounded by heavy town traffic). This is particularly notable when you consider that many UK homeowners do not have off-street parking (i.e. the option to park in their own garages, driveways, and so on) in the first place.
Having more off-street parking, i.e. residential, options for EV chargers (by installing them in users’ properties) is therefore a crucial requirement for electric vehicle uptake, especially for drivers who don’t have easy access to public charging stations—and so would rather power up their cars in the comfort of their own home.
The UK’s Potential for an EV-friendly Infrastructure
Since 2012, the UK has been witnessing a huge, and generally fast-growing, increase in its number of electric vehicles. But there are nevertheless some key issues, such as those mentioned above, that still need to be addressed if the country’s full potential for EV uptake is to be realised.
Indeed, improving the use of smart grids for users’ homes and increasing investments in public charging points are just two examples of what will be needed for the UK to achieve its required, EV-friendly infrastructure. Nevertheless, if it were to be achieved, this would mean a substantial improvement to both the environment and the automobile industry at large.