UK still unprepared for electric car transition with lack of charging

Electric vehicle infrastructure is vital for transition says expert

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New data has found that the majority of retail businesses in the UK don’t yet have enough charging facilities to capitalise on opportunities to increase revenue. Many businesses are yet to install any electric car charge points for their customers, and those that have offer an average of just three chargers. 

This is despite the huge growth in electric cars in recent years, with new EVs accounting for one in 10 new vehicle registrations in July.

Retail parks were found to be the furthest along when it came to EV charge point installation with an average of five charge points. 

Since 2020, the Government has committed over £2.5billion to the EV transition, of which over £1.6billion is to support charging infrastructure.

According to its “Taking Charge” report, the Government wants to ensure that everyone can find and access reliable public chargepoints.

This would be in addition to off-street parking and a “fairly priced and inclusively designed” public charging system.

By 2030, it is believed that three in 10 parking spaces will need to be equipped with a charge point if venues are to keep pace with projections for EV growth.

Adam Hall, Director of Energy Services at Drax, said: “If retail businesses want to keep pace with their competitors, they should invest now in good EV charging facilities. 

“It will help to attract new customers as well as better serving their existing ones.  

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“Customers are likely to spend more during their visit if drivers are there for longer, charging their vehicles. 

“Combining this additional spend with any profits made for charging makes it easy to see the business benefits and return on investment.”  

The study highlighted the growing disparity between new developments, which are being future-proofed with the installation of a significant number of charge points and those that are long-established and have fewer charge points available.  

For example, a recently revamped retail park like Edinburgh’s St James’ Quarter has capacity for 45 EVs to charge simultaneously, and Oxford’s Westgate has 28 EV charge points. 

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These examples are in contrast to an average of just five across the retail park sector, with even fewer available at some older retail parks. 

There are fewer still for supermarket and DIY store customers, which currently offer an average of just two charge points.   

According to the latest data from Zap-Map, there are 33,996 charging points across the UK at just over 20,000 locations.

This represents a 34 percent increase in the number of charging devices since August 2021.

In August, 1,594 new charging devices were added to the Zap-Map database.

These figures do not include the many charge points installed at home or at workplace locations, which are estimated to be more than 400,000. 

Some of these charge points are available to the public in some form via community or visitor charging.

The study found that many DIY stores, which are often found out of town and with large parking areas, usually do not have enough, or any, EV chargers.

Company-owned BEV registrations increased 77 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to 2021.

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