Currently reading: Road to 2030: How many charging points are needed, and what kind?
More chargers are required and coming. Ultra-rapid chargers have the benefit of speed but may stress the grid
3 mins read
1 February 2021

The upcoming 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars will transform UK motoring on a scale never seen before. This story is part of a wider analysis of the challenges faced by consumers, government and the automotive industry, what needs to happen, and how such drastic changes can be achieved over the next decade.

Read the rest of this series here: Countdown to year zero - what needs to happen by 2030?

As with most questions around EVs, the answer isn’t a simple figure, but there’s no doubt that most homes with off-street parking will need a charge point. That’s about 1.5 million.

As for what kind, the 7kW wallboxes that are fitted to many homes should be sufficient as they let you charge your car overnight. It’s unlikely that cars will offer more than 300 miles of real-world range, so the battery size shouldn’t grow much beyond where it is at the moment. Away from homes and on the main trunk routes, all the experts are convinced that more rapid chargers will be needed. The SMMT has been asking for massive infrastructure upgrades for a while now. Graeme Cooper, project director at National Grid, says that the Grid “has proposed the optimum locations for adequate grid capacity to enable others to provide ultra-fast chargers, ensuring that nobody on the strategic road network (motorways and principal dual carriageways) is further than 50 driven miles from ultra-rapid charging".

Change is coming (Ionity, for one, is promising three more ultra-rapid-charger sites this year), but it won’t be quick. As Brazier points out, a lot of service stations are in remote locations and to upgrade them will require big infrastructure investment. The large concentration of rapid chargers these sites need doesn’t help. The grid can cope with someone putting a wallbox on their house, but installing 50 rapid chargers in a single location is a different matter entirely.

Businesses will also need to think about offering customers charging facilities. Although it’s admirable what Formula E racer Alexander Sims has done by helping to distribute 700 charge points to various small businesses around the country, it’s clear more needs to be done. Hotels and B&Bs only ever have a handful of charging stations at most, and it’s these sorts of locations where there’s ample opportunity for parked cars to be charged. As Sims says: “Most people go for a day trip within 150 miles of home, so if you can then charge for six to eight hours while you’re at the location, it’s just brilliant.”

It’s clear, therefore, that work remains. Now that one major issue is at least partially resolved (Brexit), SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes has said that the 2030 date “will challenge this industry, other industries in the UK and the global industry. What matters to achieve this target is having a strong industrial strategy from government that really ensures the UK remains competitive, attracts investment and remains a strong market [for EVs]. It’s a global challenge and one where the UK needs to take the lead.”


Countdown to year zero: what needs to happen by 2030

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