Smart Transport

“Step-change” in ambition needed for UK EV charging rollout, says new report

Electric car charging

A new industry report is calling for a “step change” in ambition of the UK’s electric vehicle charging rollout to deliver on net zero goals.

The Connected Kerb ‘How to meet the UK’s EV charging needs by 2030’ report includes contributions from consultancy EY, as well as UK Power Networks, Motability and Mitie Group.

The report outlines what national and local government, investors, developers, and charging point providers must do to ensure the UK is able to deliver ubiquitous, affordable and easy-to-access charging points for all.

It is estimated that the number of charge points will need to increase ten-fold by 2030 to cater to the new numbers of EV drivers.

Chris Pateman-Jones, Connected Kerb chief executive, said: “Solving the EV charging challenge is absolutely fundamental to achieving a cleaner, and fairer transport future.

“There is an opportunity ahead of us to make a real and positive impact, reducing UK transport emissions, while positioning the UK as a world leader on EVs.

“Our report highlights the need for a collaborative approach between different stakeholders within the industry and identifies a roadmap to ensure the UK’s charging infrastructure is fit for purpose, ready to unlock a future of zero-emission transport.”

While rapid and ultra-rapid charging is developing well in public spaces such as car parks and motorway service stations, new consumer research released as part of the report indicates that the demands of drivers require affordable and easy-to-access chargers to be installed on virtually every residential street across the UK – with 80% of respondents saying that reliable and affordable chargers located where their car is parked while at home is “essential” or “very important” to their decision on switching to an EV.

The report identifies six key areas of action:

  1. “Think big”: Those deploying EV charging – particularly local authorities which are in a unique position to deploy at scale – must step up their ambitions for EV charging deployments, “think big” and install thousands of chargers, not tens.
  2. Understand demand: Use an evidence-based approach to determine the size of user base and dwell time and forecast how this will change over time. If most parking is overnight or all day, many 7kW long dwell chargers may be better than a few expensive rapid chargers. If it is mixed-use, multiple options may be needed.
  3. Longer-term financing: Focussing on future-proofed, long-life durable chargers will unlock long term contracts. 5-year contracts will attract short term finance looking for fast returns, limiting deployment of chargers to areas of high early EV uptake. 20-year contracts will attract patient infrastructure capital willing to forgo profits for 10+ years. This unlocks low capital costs and enables large scale rapid deployment now, ahead of growing demand.
  4. Install ahead of demand: Anticipating how EV use will grow and installing the ‘behind-the-scenes’ ground infrastructure from the start, such as grid connections and passive ducting, enables more flexible expansion once EV uptake increases – charging sockets can simply be added later, saving money and time.
  5. Inclusivity: There will be 2.7 million UK drivers or passengers with a disability by 2035. This group disproportionately lives in homes without private parking and is less likely to switch to EVs without very reliable access to charging. All parties must provide sufficient charging that is designed to be inclusive of drivers with disabilities.
  6. Education and engagement: Lack of understanding about the benefits of EVs remains a key barrier to EV adoption. Focusing on centralised education programmes and community engagement on the benefits of driving electric can drive forward the transition.

Connected Kerb has secured contracts for 10,000 chargers in 2021 alone, including a tender with West Sussex believed to be the UK’s largest ever deployment by a local authority.

It expects to sign deals for a further 30,000 this year as part of its objective of deploying 190,000 chargers by 2030 to “level up” EV charging across the UK.

Thierry Mortier, global digital & innovation lead for energy at EY, said: “Long term infrastructure finance is the key that will unlock large scale deployment.

"In most cases, delivering quality EV charging, at a price people are willing to pay, comes with long payback periods.

"Rapid chargers can make a quick buck in a few high margin areas but most EV chargers in residential areas and workplaces will only turn a profit for investors who are prepared to put long lasting kit in the ground and wait years to see EV adoption catch up.

"We have to understand driver behaviour and adopt a roll-out based on those insights, not just where there is traffic today."

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