Are there enough charging points in the UK for the number of electric cars?

Electric vehicle owners are making a conscious decision to help reduce emissions, they are willing to pay more for electric and take up tax incentives, but what if there aren’t enough charging points to accommodate everyone?

Rise in electric cars in the UK

There are over 95,000 plug in electric cars and 4,500 plug in vans in the UK as of April 2017. However, the government has predicted that by 2035, electric vehicles will make up 35% of total transport on the road today (which is currently stands at 31.7 million).

This would mean a massive increase in electric vehicles on the road, bringing that 100,000 current total to more than 10 million vehicles.

There has already been a positive increase, to prove that these predictions are coming true, as electric car sales in 2016 were up 56% on 2015.

By 2050, the number of electric vehicles is expected to increase even further to make up two thirds of total vehicles, making up over 20 million electric cars.

However, until we reach even the 2035 milestone, it’s important to tackle the reliability of the electrical system and the number of charging points first.

Electric car charging points

Currently, there are more than 12,505 individual charging points across the UK to around 100,000 electric vehicles. This is not counting any private residential charging ports at people’s homes. This means there is 1 charging port to roughly every 8 electric cars on the road.

It’s important to note that these 12,505 public charging points are not at separate locations across the UK, but rather at 4,386 public locations with an average of 2-3 points per location.

At the current numbers, this amount of charging points is deemed acceptable, with most electric car owners charging at home and new public ports being installed every month.

However, with the expected rise in electric vehicles, the current number of points and the network itself could be pushed to capacity. 42% of the public have already said that there are not enough charging points near them, which is reason enough to worry any potential new electric car owners about taking a long journey.

Scotland currently have the most charging points in the UK, with 1,806 (14.7%), shortly followed by the South East at 1,726 (14.1%) and greater London at 1,495 (12.2%).

You can obviously install charging points at home, but this is only possible if you have a driveway or garage. To make electric cars sustainable and realistic to run long distances, there will need to be a massive increase in charging points around the country, just like there are petrol stations.

Energy System

It isn’t just charging points that need improving, but the electrical systems that power them too.

The current electric vehicle charging infrastructure isn’t simple and is run by various different companies, all with different charging rates and membership costs. Some charge up to £7.50 for a 30 minute rapid charging point, which gets you up to 80% battery power.

The UK is lacking a simple one-track system to combine everything and make charging rates a standard price, so the rates to charge aren’t more expensive in London, than compared to Glasgow.

Networks also need upgrading to be able to accommodate and survive with the rise in electric cars that is predicted. If a sudden surge of electric cars were to happen, then the current power network set up wouldn’t be able to cope, as rapid charging of just one car requires a similar amount of electricity that an average home consumes in three days.

Previously, electric vehicle owners have been encouraged to charge their vehicles at off peak times, where the demand of energy is low and the risk of network damaged is reduced.

New 18th Edition Energy Efficiency regulations

It’s important to note that the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations is set to include a new section based around energy efficiency and is due to be released some time in 2018.

Within this new section, a number of areas will be covered, such as: electric vehicles, lights, harmonics, metering, cable losses and transformer losses. There is currently no official word of what these regulations surrounding electric vehicles could involve.

However, with the rise of electric vehicles comes the need for more at home charging points, which will need to be installed by a qualified electrician.

If you’re interested in finding out other ways to expand your electrical business, take a look at our top 10 ways to gain more business in 2017!

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