Government must boost roll out of charging points to support growing demand for electric vehicles
Electric vehicle (EV) usage in the midlands is predicted to increase by over 3,000 per cent by 2030. The installation of public charging points must be six times as fast to support growing demand.
It’s been a while since I’ve experienced the joy of bunging my suitcase in the boot of the car and taking a long road trip away from home. However, my most recent trip to Northumberland was special for a different reason.
This year marks my switch to first-time electric vehicle ownership, joining over 92,000 other people who have registered a new battery electric vehicle (BEV) so far in the year-to-date. Electric cars are cleaner, quieter, and more efficient than their petrol and diesel counterparts, adding up to a very pleasant driving experience.
But just how far can you get on a single charge?
According to the manufacturer’s website, with my water-cooled lithium-ion battery I can enjoy a driving range of up to 163 miles. Various sources place the median range of EVs between 150-200 miles, with some high-end models capable of covering double this distance without stopping.
55 per cent of motorists identify lack of charging points as a reason not to buy an electric vehicle
These impressive numbers are largely down to the extraordinary rate of innovation across the automotive industry, boosted by the phase-out date for the internal combustion engine being brough to 2030 – an outcome I campaigned extensively for since my election.
Just last week, an Israeli technology company announced a “world-first” electric vehicle battery which can be fully charged in only 10-minutes.
While I welcome the great strides in battery technology that automotive manufacturers have made in recent years, there will always be a demand for fast, easy, and affordable charging on-the-go. Building the infrastructure needed to guarantee this is one of the challenges the government has set out to address in their Decarbonising Transport Plan, launched in July this year.
In my 2020 policy paper on the topic of EVs, I discussed the problem of range anxiety as a major barrier to consumer uptake. Polling done by Midlands Connect for their recent report, “Supercharging the Midlands”, shows that this feeling is shared by EV owners living in Midlands, with 55 per cent of motorists identifying lack of charging points as a reason not to buy an electric vehicle.
However, despite these concerns, 77 per cent of respondents would consider buying an electric vehicle as their next car, representing a staggering level of optimism among current drivers. This is a clear signal to policymakers – at both national and local level - that the public are ready to change how they travel to help protect our environment.
Recent statistics from Zap Map show there are now over 25,000 public charging devices across the UK, which means that electric vehicle drivers are never more than 25 miles from a chargepoint. But as we increase the number of public charging spots up and down the country, we must also turn our attention to the speed, reliability, cost, and maintenance needs of the UK’s charging infrastructure.
And as more and more people take to the road behind the wheel of an electric vehicle, the chargepoint network must be expanded rapidly. Midlands Connect predict that EV usage in the region will increase by over 3,000 per cent by 2030, and that installation of public charging points must be six times as fast to support growing demand.
In “Supercharging the Midlands”, Midlands Connect have a created a model for this could be done at a local level. I fully support their ambitions to work with local authorities, network operators, private companies and academic institutions across the region to encourage EV uptake and prevent range anxiety becoming more than just a warning light on the dashboard.
Ruth Edwards is the Consrvative MP for Rushcliffe.
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