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Sales of electric plug-in cars racing ahead of charging point installations, experts warn – Essex Live


The rate at which motorists are buying electric vehicles is accelerating ahead of the number of charging points being installed, a leading industry body has warned.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that the ratio of chargers to plug-in cars declined 31 per cent during 2020.

This means that the number of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles that would potentially have to share a public charger increased from 11 to 16 from 2019 to 2020.

Furthermore, just one charge point is being installed for every 52 new plug-in models registered – 4,019 new public chargers were installed between January and September 2021, with more than 212,000 new plug-in car registrations.



Graph showing charging points ratio
The number of public charging points for each vehicle nationally

The SMMT acknowledges that most plug-in car buyers currently have access to off-street charging such as a driveway, but notes that if electric vehicle uptake is to hit official targets then the public charging network must keep up with accelerating vehicle uptake.

The ratio of chargers to electric vehicles has deteriorated to the point where the UK now has one of the worst figures of the 10 largest EV markets globally. The 16:1 ratio compares with 3:1 in South Korea, 5:1 in the Netherlands and 13:1 in Belgium and Japan – though it is slightly better than Germany’s 17:1.

The Government’s Rapid Charging Fund is seeing £950 million allocated to rapid and ultra-rapid chargers, £620m for zero-emission vehicle grants and infrastructure, and a commitment that all new houses must have a charge point installed.

However, the SMMT has called these measures ‘insufficient’ and has called on the Government to take regulatory action.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Appetite for electric vehicles has never been higher, but making Britain a net zero nation means convincing everyone, wherever they live, that an electric car can meet their needs.

“Recent government funding for infrastructure was welcome but more private sector investment in public charge points is needed across the country. The UK therefore needs a framework of regulation that makes it easier to fund, build and operate electric vehicle charging infrastructure.”

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