Currently reading: Number of electric car chargers in the UK soars by 33%
Huge annual increase in public chargers come as EV demand surges, but regional disparities remain

There are now 30,290 public electric vehicle chargers in operation in the UK - a huge 33% increase on the number available this time last year.

New figures published by the Department for Transport (DfT), sourced from mapping provider Zap Map, show that some 7500 new devices have been installed across the country over the past 12 months - of which 1235 were rapid devices with an output of 25kW and above.

In the past three months alone, the tally has been increased by 1915 units (a 7% uptick).

Recently, the UK government announced a bold plan to increase the number of EV charging stations tenfold by 2030, injecting £450 million into its dedicated infrastructure strategy fund.

The government aims to have 300,000 chargers in operation across the UK by 2030, which it says would be five times as many traditional fuel pumps currently in operation.

The DfT said this increase has been spread across "all regions of the UK" but noted that there remains "an uneven geographical distribution of charging devices within the UK".

It says that several local authorities have applied for government funding to install chargers but others haven't. That's reflected in data that shows London has 111 public chargers per 100,000 people, while the whole of Northern Ireland, for example, has just 18. 

When it comes to rapid chargers, the divide is even more stark. Scotland has 13.6 per 100,000, while Northern Ireland has just 1.3. On a more local level, the North West of England has 5.9 per 100,000, while the North East has 9.4.

On average across the UK, there are 45 public chargers per 100,000 people, but EV uptake is expected to continue rising exponentially as the 2030 ban on new ICE car sales looms.

Last month, there was a 78.7% year-on-year increase in EV registrations, meaning electric cars now have a 16.1% market share. 

The number of public chargers has increased exponentially in line with EV sales. The DfT's figures show that there were only around 2000 devices in operation at this point in 2015, rising to 10,000 in 2018. 

But the rate of expansion isn't uniform across the country. Last quarter, the number of chargers in London rose by 9.4%, while the uptick in Northern Ireland was around 10 times slower. But that trend was completely reversed for rapid devices specifically: London recorded a 1.9% increase in these, while there was a 13.6% rise in Northern Ireland. 

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The DfT highlighted that "the number of available devices can fluctuate for a range of reasons", noting that while new installations contribute to an overall increase, the numbers can dip when devices are temporarily or permanently decommissioned - and direct replacements (even with an uprated device) obviously have no effect on numbers.

The DfT adds that Zap Map covers 95% of public chargers so "true counts are therefore likely to be higher". 

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Skalamanga 21 April 2022
25Kw is NOT a rapid charger. Every new charger being installed should be a minimum of 150Kw
Marv 21 April 2022

I had a call with Josh Atkins of GridServe a few months ago to discuss the lack of rapid charging in Wales and to suggest potential locations for chargining forecourts, particularly near popular visitor sites in North Wales where there is an absolute dearth of public rapid charging.  During the call I shared charger coverage obtained from ZapMap and the difference between regions is stark to say the least.  During our call, one of the things that was highighted as a challenge is the local electricity supply and that the infrastructure is not always modern enough to provide the levels of power required to support for example a charging forecourt.  We need greater commitment from the government or we will end up with regions that are unable to switch to an EV, not just becuase of the initial expense, but also because they'll have very few options when it comes to charging on the go.  Visistor numbers will also drop impacting local business, causing further challenges.

bol 21 April 2022
Marv wrote:

I had a call with Josh Atkins of GridServe a few months ago to discuss the lack of rapid charging in Wales and to suggest potential locations for chargining forecourts, particularly near popular visitor sites in North Wales where there is an absolute dearth of public rapid charging.  During the call I shared charger coverage obtained from ZapMap and the difference between regions is stark to say the least.  During our call, one of the things that was highighted as a challenge is the local electricity supply and that the infrastructure is not always modern enough to provide the levels of power required to support for example a charging forecourt.  We need greater commitment from the government or we will end up with regions that are unable to switch to an EV, not just becuase of the initial expense, but also because they'll have very few options when it comes to charging on the go.  Visistor numbers will also drop impacting local business, causing further challenges.

If anyone is going to do this at scale it's Gridserve, and indeed MFG in fairness. As you say though, for Gridserve the local authority needs to be right behind them. Thankfully that was the case in Norwich, where their 28-rapid forecourt opened today. 

Electrohead 21 April 2022
bol wrote:

If anyone is going to do this at scale it's Gridserve, and indeed MFG in fairness. As you say though, for Gridserve the local authority needs to be right behind them. Thankfully that was the case in Norwich, where their 28-rapid forecourt opened today. 

Gridserve are good at overpromising and under delivering and I'd add Instavolt and Osprey to the list of reliable and expanding network providers. However they are all being held back by lack of high voltage infrastructure to connect to.

bol 21 April 2022
Electrohead wrote:

bol wrote:

If anyone is going to do this at scale it's Gridserve, and indeed MFG in fairness. As you say though, for Gridserve the local authority needs to be right behind them. Thankfully that was the case in Norwich, where their 28-rapid forecourt opened today. 

Gridserve are good at overpromising and under delivering and I'd add Instavolt and Osprey to the list of reliable and expanding network providers. However they are all being held back by lack of high voltage infrastructure to connect to.

I must admit I find the quite widely held view that Gridserve over promise and under deliver quite odd. They've completely replaced the old Ecotricity infrastructure in a year, like they said they would, and are building out Fourecourts as fast as they can get planning permission. They're even delivering on the software upgrade and expanding hubs now. Not bad in a pandemic where there's a parts and labour shortage. Yes, they haven't delivered their 100 Forecourts yet, but I don't see the vision from anyone else. I agree Instavolt, Osprey and others are also making a real difference, but no one else other than MFG have a plan to provide large scale charging in off-motorway locations as far as I can see..?

Electrohead 22 April 2022

[/quote]

I must admit I find the quite widely held view that Gridserve over promise and under deliver quite odd. They've completely replaced the old Ecotricity infrastructure in a year, like they said they would, and are building out Fourecourts as fast as they can get planning permission. They're even delivering on the software upgrade and expanding hubs now. Not bad in a pandemic where there's a parts and labour shortage. Yes, they haven't delivered their 100 Forecourts yet, but I don't see the vision from anyone else. I agree Instavolt, Osprey and others are also making a real difference, but no one else other than MFG have a plan to provide large scale charging in off-motorway locations as far as I can see..?

[/quote]

Why is that view odd when they have failed, utterly, to meet any target their PR machine has churned out? Let's see. 100 forecourts in 5 years. Two years later 1 opened, 1 just about to open and another under construction. Renew all Electric Highway chargers withing 6 months. 1 year later 13 sites still to upgrade. They are also way behind the number of rapid charging hubs promised by now. Software upgrade for dual charging only now being implimented 2 years after they said it was coming "soon". Talk is cheap and anyone can come up with a vision but its a completely different matter being competent enough to deliver it. Instavolt and Osprey have plans but unlike Gridserve they don't make rash promises and just keep their heads down expanding their reliable networks. Oh speaking about reliability, Gridserve are failing there also. The time for cutting any chargepoint operator slack for broken promises and poor performance is is way past over.