Electric vehicle charging network grows by a fifth in 2020


The UK’s electric vehicle charging network grew by almost a fifth in the first nine months of 2020, according to new government figures.

The Electric Vehicle Charging Device statistics from the DfT for October 2020 also shows a 7% increase in available chargers in Q3 2020 alone. 

Of the 19,487 public chargers now available in the UK, 3,530 are rapid chargers. 

While rapid devices increased in each region across the quarter, the smallest percentage increase is in Scotland. Despite this, Scotland still has the highest number of rapid chargers per 100,000 of population. 

London has the highest level of charging device provision per 100,000 of population but is slightly below average in terms of rapid charging device provision. 

Charlie Jardine, founder and chief executive of electric vehicle charge point and charging software developer EO Charging, said “We look forward to seeing this number grow as EVs are set to be an essential part of how we ‘build back better’ from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“While increasing the availability of public charge points is an important step in overcoming the barriers to EV adoption, 59% of vehicles on roads are company vehicles so businesses must carefully consider installing their own EV charging infrastructure. 

“We’ve seen much evidence of businesses leading the way on this in recent months, with significant demand from our customers transforming their fleets across the UK and Europe from diesel and petrol to electric.” 

Access to a charging point is something of a postcode lottery. Northern Ireland boasts just 17 chargers per 100,000 people, while Yorkshire and the Humber has a mere 18 chargers per 100,000 inhabitants. In fact, only London, Scotland and the north-east of England exceeded the national average of 29 chargers per 100,000 residents. The south-east of England matched that level, but the north-west of England, east of England and Midlands all fell well short. 

In the North West, the number of total devices available decreased by 4.9% over the quarter, predominantly in the Greater Manchester area. However, total rapid devices in the region increased by 5.7%. 

The number of available devices can fluctuate for a variety of reasons. Owners and operators may choose to temporarily or permanently decommission or replace devices, or they can be unavailable due to faults, maintenance, or other restrictions in the area where they are located. 

An RAC spokesperson commented: “The rise in the number of charge points across the UK is very encouraging and sends all the right signals to drivers who might be thinking about opting for an electric model next time they change their car. 

“Add in the fact that many people with electric cars can charge from home and overall, it’s a positive picture.”