The UK’s EV charger providers are likely to come in for heavy criticism for the state of the network this summer, but concerns will be addressed by the end of the year, according to Osprey CEO Ian Johnston.
Describing the potential for negative headlines as “horrible” but stressing that “we have to be open and honest about it”, Johnston said: “This summer is going to be hard for every provider. There will be a lot of people used to home charging undertaking journeys to rural areas where the charge-point provision won’t cope, and that in turn creates a window for negative journalism, which is easily fed by the writers heading to the motorway network, where some of the legacy infrastructure is still catching up.”
However, Osprey is set to double its charger network in size by the end of the year, including upgrading the capability of many of its points.
Johnston says that many of Osprey's rivals are in the same position, citing the “hundreds of millions” of pounds of investment that's now coming on stream.
“By the end of this year, we're collectively going to have hundreds of more of these rapid-charging hubs everywhere. The charging industry will move up a gear,” he said. “The frustration will be this summer, but by Christmas, capacity and capability should be vastly improved.
"With 80% of the network run by five or six big providers, reliability should just be a hygiene point. From thereon in, we're going to see exponential growth.”
Johnston estimates that the private sector has around £1 billion ready to invest in the charging network now and that the uptake of EVs has now convinced car-park operators - including local authorities - that installing high-quality chargers is a priority,
“The truth is that we and our peers have got more investment than we can spend at the moment," he said.
"The issue isn’t the money, it’s the fact that you need a landlord that’s willing to give you a long enough lease to invest in the required infrastructure. But that’s changing now that people can see there’s a clear path to EV adoption. They can see the huge benefits of having charging points, and the rest will follow.”