Wales is out-performing the rest of the UK installing charging points, say the car makers.
New analysis by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders revealed that the ratio of vehicle chargepoints to plug-in cars deteriorated by -31% during 2020.
The research shows that at the end of 2019, 11 plug-in vehicles potentially shared a standard public chargepoint capable of charging both battery electric (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs). In contrast, at the end of 2020, the ratio had fallen to one charger for every 16 plug-ins.
While most people currently purchasing an electric vehicle are likely to be able to plug in at home, on a driveway or designated parking bay, achieving net-zero requires all drivers to make the switch, including those who depend on on-street parking.
Plug-in vehicles continue to grow in popularity, accounting for around one in every six new cars registered in 2021. The public charging infrastructure required to keep them moving, however, must keep pace with the accelerating vehicle uptake, but the numbers reveal that public chargepoint rollout is lagging behind.
Britain’s ratio of plug-in vehicles on the road to standard public chargers has deteriorated to become one of the worst among the top 10 global electric vehicle markets at 16:1 in 2020. South Korea (3:1), the Netherlands (5:1), China (9:1), France (10:1), Belgium and Japan (both 13:1) all offer their EV drivers better coverage, although the UK does marginally outperform Germany (17:1).
However, with 4,109 new standard public charge points installed between January and September 2021, compared with 212,181 new plug-in car registrations, just one new standard charger is being installed for every 52 new electric cars, a rate insufficient to improve the user experience.
There are also significant regional disparities in the current provision of standard public charging points. London has the best ratio of cars to chargers at 10:1 – although this in itself fell from 5:1 in 2019. Meanwhile, the East of England has the lowest availability, with just one standard public charger for every 49 plug-in vehicles.
Meanwhile, Wales beats the national average with a ratio of 12:1, while Scotland weighs in at 17:1. If not addressed, these disparities will hamstring vast sections of the country in their ability to deliver zero emission motoring with all the air quality and carbon saving benefits this delivers, not to mention the benefits drivers can enjoy via lower EV running costs.