According to a new report, the way local authorities are rolling out the electric vehicle charging points on streets and the supporting infrastructure is inconsistent. It has been determined that even though the amount of on-street chargers has been boosted by over 68% over the last 24 months, the coverage across the country has only gotten 42% better. The study was carried out by a company called Field Dynamics, which partnered with ZapMap, one of the apps available to locate the closest electric vehicle charger for drivers of EVs.
As you might imagine, London comes off the best, with the borough managing to create a 60% coverage across all areas. However, in smaller towns and cities across the country, the coverage is only around 14%; this even applies to Metropolitan councils, which had been expected to do significantly better. As the Managing Director of Field Dynamics, Brett Alan, explains, ‘in an ideal world or residence would benefit equally from investments in on-street chargers so as the number of chargers increases the coverage should increase by the same amount. Yet this is not what is happening, according to the latest study.
Chicken and Egg Scenario
It seems as though we are stuck in something of a chicken and egg scenario. Despite government targets, councils seem to be pretty slow moving forward with the rollout of on-street chargers. Part of the problem is the uptake of electric vehicles. For customers who have their own driveway, the charger tends to be something they have installed on the main electricity supply. However, 35% of car drivers will have no off-street parking; therefore, if they switch to electric vehicles, they need to be able to take advantage of a conveniently located on-street charger close by.
So Which Comes First?
The study and statistics mentioned above were based on the number of on-street parking households that could access an on-street charger with a five-minute or less walk. Having no access to a charging point will put some drivers off purchasing an electric vehicle. There are other locations where drivers can charge their cars, including private work premises, but the amount of chargers on offer is relatively small. On-street chargers are not free, and householders must pay to charge the vehicle overnight. Of course, homeowners with off-street parking are paying through their electricity bill but using someone else’s equipment in the form of an on-street charger is slightly more expensive.
The report concluded that ‘the market is still very immature, and without mainstream behaviours and data, the right approach can only be inferred. However, the clear summary of this report is that 1) there is little consistency in approach and outcome, 2) little correlation between demand and investment, and 3) little standardisation between council types. This inherently means that while some are getting it right, many are getting it expensively wrong and will continue doing so for some time.’