Industry stakeholders have jumped into the action, as the United Kingdom’s high-speed charger network has seen the addition of hundreds of charging points so far in 2023, with a lion’s share of them being installed outside London, a move which has been seen as a ‘helping hand’ to end the ‘range anxiety’ holding back the would-be electric car buyers.
“The capital and the southeast still have far more chargers of all speeds – ranging from slow to rapid and ultra-rapid – than the rest of the country. But the presence of high-speed chargers, generally used for quick recharging on longer journeys, is increasing in other regions as electric car sales surge,” commented a Guardian report.
The West Midlands, East Midlands, and the southwest of the United Kingdom have installed more rapid/ultra-rapid chargers than London since 2022, and their networks have grown more rapidly than the south-east of England, said data from the ZapMap, which maps UK public charging points.
Nine out of 12 regions of the United Kingdom installed more than 100 rapid chargers during the past year, the data revealed further.
The latest move will help Brits’ countrywide journeys on EVs, which often find a roadblock in the form of a lack of charging points on the way.
Most of the United Kingdom’s 46,000 public chargers are described as either “slow”, with a trickle of energy used for charging a car on the street overnight, or “fast”, capable of charging an average car in two to four hours. However, the installation of rapid/ultra-rapid chargers will boost the European country’s transition away from petrol and diesel engines as these particular EV chargers allow drivers to recharge on longer journeys.
Rapid chargers are capable of delivering between 25 and 100 kilowatts of power to electric cars, with a 50kW connection reportedly giving about an 80% charge to the average car in less than an hour.
In comparison, ultra-rapid connections of over 100kW (and up to 350kW for the newest cars) can lead to a situation, where more vehicles can be charged in a very short period of time at motorway service stations. However, the innovation also comes along with higher charging costs for customers.
Melanie Shufflebotham, chief operating officer at ZapMap, remarked, “In 2023 the pace of installation of the critical ultra-rapid charging network has really picked up, with 42% more chargers versus the beginning of the year. Essential for supporting electric vehicle drivers on longer journeys, it is encouraging to see that they are being installed across the country, particularly in erstwhile poorly served areas of Wales, Northern Ireland and the northeast.”
Former television personality and automobile journalist Quentin Willson, who founded the campaign group FairCharge, said range anxiety was not as big a problem as before, because of improving charger numbers.
“People are managing to cope as long as they plan,” Willson stated further, while adding, “Range anxiety is certainly not the force it was,” given the fact that most of the new electric cars have between 200 and 250 miles of range, which is more than enough for most daily journeys.
The overall pace of charger installations has also reportedly picked up, with total charger numbers going up by 23% in the first seven months of 2023. During the first half of 2022, an average of 891 charging devices were installed on a monthly basis, but that has nearly doubled to 1,622 a month in the first six months of 2023, ZapMap found.
London is still outpacing the rest of the United Kingdom in terms of the total number of public chargers. However, Willson warned against seeing London as one bloc, because of the variations between local authorities.
“Some parts of Greater London and the south-east of England have poor access to public chargers,” he noted.