UK EV infrastructure struggles to keep pace

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11th August 2022

UK electric vehicle infrastructure struggles to keep up with number of new EVs on the road.

Although the UK has seen one of the biggest increases in the number of electrified vehicles on the road in recent years, still nearly a quarter (24%) of British drivers think there are not enough public charging stations for them to make the switch to electric.

Researchers at carwow have analysed where in the world electric vehicle sales have boomed in recent years, where they have tailed the furthest behind and most importantly which countries have installed the most public charge points in the last year to keep up with demand.

The UK is one of the countries with the most electric vehicles on the road in the world and comes in third place in the list of countries that have seen the biggest increase in the number of electrified vehicles on the road in recent years – with an increase of 312k from 2020 to 2021.

In Brazil, the number of EVs and PHEVs per charging point increased by 15.8 (to 27.6) between 2020 and 2021, which is more than anywhere else in the world. This can be interpreted in both a positive and negative light, as while it indicates that EVs are growing in popularity in Brazil, the country’s charging infrastructure appears not to be keeping up with demand. The UK presents a more balanced picture in this regard, with the number of EVs per charging point increasing by 7.3 (to 20.2) in the same period, although it has still been one of the slowest in the world to adapt to the number of EVs on the road.

How many public charging points has the UK installed in the last year?

Between 2020 and 2021, the UK installed 3,424 more EV charging points, taking 11th place among 44 countries. South Korea tops the list of countries that saw the biggest increase in public EV charging points per 1,000km of road between 2020 and 2021 (+384). The UK only saw an increase of 8.1 charge points per 1,000 km of road in the same period.

The countries that sold the most electric vehicles in the past year

In Norway, 2,802 EVs were sold per 100,000 of the population in 2021 – the highest number per capita of any country in our analysis. Nearly three quarters of these sales were battery electric vehicles (BEVs) as opposed to plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). The UK saw 460 sales per capita in the same time period, the majority of which were also battery electric vehicles.

Hugo Griffiths, consumer editor at carwow, said: “Our analysis found wide differences in the rollout of electric vehicles and charge point infrastructure around the world. China has been leading the way in many regards, installing more new charging points (340k) and selling more EVs and PHEVs (3.3 million) in 2021 compared to 2020 than any other country.

“With a population roughly one 20th the size of China’s, the UK is holding its own though: out of 44 countries, the UK’s stock of EVs increased by the third-highest figure (+312k) between 2020 and 2021. The UK also ranked 11th when it came to the year-on-year increase in EV charging points (+3.4k),” he continued.

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