Three quarters of us put off buying electric car because of unreliable charging points

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With government policy dictating that non-electric cars can not be sold after 2040, Click4Reg.co.uk has analysed data sourced by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and found that annual new electric car registrations in the UK have grown significantly over the last few years.

In 2017 alone, there have been 94,093 electric vehicles registered so far, up from 69,933 registered last year – a 34.54% increase.

March saw the highest number of electric vehicles registered (22,816), and September was second highest, with 22,619 purchases.

The rise in the number of electric vehicles bought could be down to the government’s Plug-in Car Grant, which began in January 2011, to help people save as much as £4,500 on a selection of electric cars to reduce the number of petrol and diesel cars on the road.

Since its launch, the number of new cars registered through the scheme reached 116,649 in September 2017, a contrast to just 910 six years earlier in 2011.

However, despite the rise in electric vehicles on the roads, Click4Reg has found that although the number of charge points are increasing, there are simply not enough – demand is soaring, but reliability and a range of charge points is grinding to a halt.

As of June 2017, there were 12,849 electric vehicle charging connectors on 6,913 devices in 4,476 locations across the UK – an increase from 2011, when 1,537 charging points were available.

Research by Click4Reg has found that of all charge points situated around the UK, 22% (2,984) were situated in Greater London. Scotland had the second highest number of charge points at 2,015 (14.8%), followed by the South East with an estimated 1,753 charge points for electric cars. 

According to the RAC Foundation, the UK charge point network is “not attractive to use”. Since June 2017, a staggering 13% of charging points did not work, which equates to around 900 less charge points available to electric vehicle users.

Consequently, 80% of owners have access to home charging points according to Zap-Map. With a government grant, home-charging points cost about £300 to install, while several manufacturers provide them as part of the sales package.

This is a great incentive. However, people do not always have access to off street parking. In outer London, 35% of households have no off-street parking available to charge an EV, and inside London, the number almost doubles to 63%.

In a survey, Click4Reg asked electric vehicle owners questions ranging from how happy they were with their electric vehicle, to how impressed they were with the supply and demand of public charge points.

The results were:

  • 91% were happy with their electric vehicle and wouldn’t consider going back to previous vehicle
  • 96% of electric vehicle owners were dissatisfied with public charge points
  • 88% said the public charge points are too unreliable (e.g. either broken, have cars using them as parking spaces etc.)
  • 74% of participants said the presence of EV charging facilities was a key factor when deciding where to park
  • 82% believe that the government is failing to keep up with the demand for electric vehicle charge points in the UK
  • 77% of respondents are put off by purchasing an electric vehicle due to the unreliability of charge points in the UK

This comes as last week, Shell has said it will be opening its world-first electric car charge points in the UK. Three Shell “Recharge” points have been installed in London, Surrey and Derby and the points will be able to charge 80% of a vehicle’s battery in 30 minutes. Shell aims to install another 7 charge points in London and Reading later this year.

In addition to this, Gov.uk last week published an Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill which reveals that motorway services and large petrol retailers will be required to install charge points for electric cars, under plans announced in the House of Commons last week (18th October) by Transport Minister John Hayes, in order  to keep up with demand.

Chris Price