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Research reveals UK hot spots for public rapid chargers

THE Orkney Islands may only have a few hundred electric vehicle owners, but it still has the second highest concentration of rapid EV chargers in the UK, according to research by car leasing comparison site LeaseLoco.

Analysis reveals that Orkney has 66.5 devices per 100,000 population. There are only 22,000 inhabitants of Orkney, but electric vehicle owners already have access to 15 public fast chargers across the inhabited Islands.

In comparison, there are only three rapid charging devices available to the public in Leicester, which has a population of over 350,000, and almost 2,500 registered EV owners.

The lack of rapid electric vehicle charging points across many parts of the UK, and the inconsistency in terms of the fast charging network coverage, will frustrate EV drivers.

For example, why does the Orkney Islands, where the mainland only takes 45 mins to drive around, have a higher density of rapid chargers than almost anywhere else in the UK?

The City of London (81.2 devices per 100,000) is the only local authority with a higher density of rapid chargers than Orkney.

Analysing the latest Department of Transport data on publicly available electric vehicle charges, LeaseLoco has looked at the UK’s hot and not spots for rapid devices. The data reveals there is a huge disparity in terms of spread across the UK charging network.

Currently, there are only 8,461 public rapid charging devices across the UK according to the Department of Transport. That means, less than 1 in 5public chargers (19.2%) are fast charging.

Rapid charging can boost the car battery to 80% in 30 minutes. Using a 7kW charging point could mean a charge time of four hours to top up, and up to eight hours from empty, which is totally impractical for drivers on the go.

Department of Transport data reveals that Milton Keynes (151) has more rapid charging devices than any other town/city in the UK, outside London, followed by Birmingham (141). In comparison, Liverpoolonly has 23 rapid chargers – less than 6% of all the public devices across the city. Harlow, in Essex, doesn’t have any.

 

Table: UK towns and cities with the highest and lowest number of rapid charging devices 

 

Town/City

Number of rapid chargers – July 2023

Harlow

0

Woking

2

Leicester

3

Blackpool

3

Stevenage

3

Edinburgh

79

Wakefield

80

Leeds

111

Birmingham

141

Milton Keynes

151

 

Across all local authorities in the UK, almost 50% have less than 1 in 4 chargers that are rapid, and a quarter of authorities have less than 1 in 7 chargers that are fast, across their network.

Of those local authorities with more than 10 public rapid charging stations, Thurrock has the highest percentage – with 75%of its network comprising rapid devices. While32 local authorities offer at least 50% rapid charging across their network.

Table: Local authorities with the fewest public rapid electric vehicle chargers as a percentage of the total number of chargers.

 

Local Authority

Number of rapid EV chargers

Total number of EV chargers

% rapid chargers of total EV chargers

Harlow

0

23

0.0

Kensington and Chelsea

5

696

0.7

Southwark

25

1,726

1.4

Brent

20

814

2.5

Ribble Valley

1

38

2.6

Leicester

3

114

2.6

Merton

18

676

2.7

Windsor & Maidenhead

3

103

2.9

Richmond upon Thames

11

344

3.2

Bracknell Forest

2

61

3.3

Conwy

2

60

3.3

Watford

7

209

3.3

 

Across the regions, Wales has made the most progress in growing its rapid charging network, with the number of fast charger installations increasing 78% in the past 12 months.

 

London (24%) and the North East (25%) have made the slowest progress in growing their rapid charging networks over the past year.

 

Table: Growth in rapid charging devices across UK regions over the past 12 months.

Region

EV charging points – July 2022

EV charging points – July 2023

EV charging points per 100k popl.

% increase in charging points

North East

282

353

13.3

25.2

North West

491

773

9.9

49.3

Yorkshire & Humber

491

697

12.7

42.0

East Midlands

445

627

12.8

40.9

West Midlands

583

874

14.7

49.9

East of England

521

736

11.6

41.3

London

760

943

10.7

24.1

South East

880

1,255

13.5

42.6

South West

512

756

13.2

47.7

Wales

213

379

12.2

77.9

Scotland

775

1,051

10.2

35.6

 

John Wilmot, Leaeloco Chief Executive, said: “The latest figures from the Department of Transport show just why range anxiety has given way to charging anxiety. The lack of rapid chargers across the UK is a genuine concern for electric car owners.

“There is a desperate need, particularly on motorways, for more rapid charging devices or EV owners face lengthy wait times when charging their cars on the go. There doesn’t appear to be any cohesion when it comes to rolling out rapid chargers. And the disparity across the country between areas when it comes to rapid charging is stark.

“The inconsistency in terms of rapid charging coverage will frustrate those drivers who rely on the public charging network. Although home charging will have a pivotal role to play as we move towards the new petrol and diesel car ban in 2030, there is going to be a huge reliance on the public charging network. And the ramifications on local economies of a substandard charging infrastructure could be severe.

“It’s also making the Government’s job that much harder, trying to convince the public to early switch to electric, when they can see the potential problems they may face if they have to use public chargers on a regular basis for work or pleasure.”

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