Lifeline from energy crisis as electric vehicle charging pushes to reduce public anxiety over gas ditch | Science | New

At the heart of the widespread adoption of electric vehicles (VE) will have to be the creation of a robust and reliable public charging infrastructure. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, last year saw the largest annual increase in electric vehicle registrations to date, with some 191,000 new vehicles. The Competition and Markets Authority has suggested that by the end of the decade as many as 480,000 public charging stations will be needed across the UK. Given this, the fact that there are currently 460,000 battery electric vehicles on the road in the UK, but only 31,000 public chargers in April this year may seem like a problem.

However, according to Mike Coulton, EV consultant for Volkswagen Financial Services UK, another consideration is that there are 300,000 home charging stations already installed on domestic properties across the UK.

This means that only 160,000 owners of battery electric vehicles do not have home chargers to rely on – much less strain on the public grid than it superficially seems.

In fact, the UK has almost double the number of public chargers available for regular access by these drivers than is recommended by European Commission guidelines.

That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t yet problems with the UK’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure in its current state.

According to Coulton, the real problem lies in the accessibility, reliability and geography of charging stations – issues that the auto industry and government need to address.

Department for Transport data has previously flagged the fact that a disproportionate number of charging stations per capita are found in London and the South East – at 128 chargers per 100,000 people, compared to just 47 in Scotland, 29 in the Country Wales and 17 in Ireland.

The north of England is also disadvantaged in this sense, with just 33 chargers per 100,000 people in the North East, 22 in the North West and just 21 in Yorkshire and the Humber.

According to Coulton and his colleagues, this “postcode lottery” has resulted in “range anxiety” – the fear that electric cars cannot travel far enough on a single charge – being replaced by the new phenomenon of ” load anxiety”. ”.

However, they added, it is hoped that the government’s £450million local electric vehicle infrastructure fund, which will fund projects such as electric vehicle hubs and on-street charging solutions, will help alleviate regional disparities and minimize public concern.

READ MORE: Lifeline from the energy crisis: five green gadgets that can lower your bills

Mr Coulton continued: “However, as our research shows, the conundrum of the lack of public charging stations is a common misconception, as the number of home charging stations is largely ignored.

“The focus should now be on ensuring that public charging stations are easily accessible via contactless payment, are reliable and deliver the advertised power.”

This, he explained, is particularly relevant for ultra-fast chargers.

The government, he added, must also ensure that public charging stations “are evenly distributed in sufficient numbers across the UK”.

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