Apr 24, 2019 - 3min read
Electric vehicles (EVs) are on the rise; current predictions suggest that EV price parity could happen as soon as 2021, and there are plenty of reports that say that running one is already cheaper than petrol or diesel cars. So we know they’re coming - but is the UK’s infrastructure ready for them?
At Tonik, we’ve been busy crunching the numbers - and the geography - with the help of data gathered by our friends over at Zap-Map; an online platform that allows EV users to locate charging points all over the UK.
We compared the number of full driving license holders in each postcode area with the number of publicly available charging points, building up a picture of which areas of the country are best prepared for the EV revolution; namely, the cities with the highest numbers of charging points per license holder.
As you can see, Sunderland is leading the charge with 87 available charging points, meaning that there are only 1,460 drivers per public charging point. Milton Keynes came in second with 1487 license holders per charger, while Dundee came third with 1,635.
At the other end of the spectrum, however, energy is running low in Portsmouth; with 16 public charging points for more than half a million drivers, they have just one charger per 32,388 license holders - making them the area least prepared for the rise of EVs. Just above Portsmouth are Shrewsbury (20,698) and Derby (17,037), which are only slightly less likely to see large queues forming as the number of EV owners ramps up.
“Local councils must be prepared for the increase in the amount of EVs on our roads,” says Chris Russell, Managing Director at Tonik. “One of the main barriers to purchasing one of these vehicles is the fear of running out of charge on a long journey so it’s crucial that all councils, particularly those towards the bottom of these rankings, recognise the need to invest in publicly available charging points.”
What’s promising is that the number of charges is always going up, even if they’re popping up a little more quickly in some areas than others. “The UK charging point infrastructure is growing at a rapid rate with over 12,000 devices now on the public network,” says Melanie Shuffleboatham, director at Zap-Map. “A record 900 new devices were added to Zap-Map last month alone; providing a great mix of on-street residential chargers, destination chargers and en-route rapid chargers - necessary to support the day to day urban driving as well as longer electric journeys.”
The most heartening aspect of all this data is that it has already informed some big shifts in council policy. Even though Brighton features as one of the less prepared cities on our list, there are already measures in place to dramatically increase their preparedness for a surge in EVs.
“This data has proved extremely helpful for Brighton & Hove Council, as this year they will be installing over 200 on-street lamp post chargers following their successful bid to OLEV for £300,000,” says Tom Kiss, founder of the Electric Brighton initiative to promote EV use in the city. “Lots of drivers are beginning to understand the benefits of driving an EV and are considering the switch. But, it's a big decision to make and anyone thinking about switching needs to have assurances that there will be somewhere to charge their car regularly.”
Our data should reassure EV owners - and aspiring EV owners - that the electric vehicle revolution is well underway, as well as highlighting those areas that need to pick up the pace of their drive towards a clean energy future.