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UK EV charger deployment behind schedule, analysis finds

Date: 30 May 2024   |   Author: Sean Keywood

The rate of UK public EV charger installations needs to more than double if government targets are to be met, according to Cornwall Insight.

The research company said that at the end of March this year the UK had 75,074 public chargers, meaning nearly 225,000 more needed to be installed by 2030 in order to meet the government's target of 300,000 by that date.

It said over the previous 12 months, the UK had seen 16,061 new public chargers installed, and that if this rate continued, the 2030 target would be missed by almost 120,000 chargers.

Cornwall Insight said the UK would need to raise the number of installations to 2,800 a month to stay on track and meet its target, with this figure growing further for every month the target was missed.

It said the shortfall could partly be attributed to delays to programmes such as the Rapid Charging Fund, designed to develop the ultra-rapid network at strategic locations, and for which a pilot due to launch in 2022 had not begun until December 2023.

The analysis was carried out for the latest edition of Cornwall insight's Electric Vehicle Country Attractiveness Index, which ranks major European nations based on their appeal for investment in EVs, and has placed the UK ninth, behind the Netherlands, Norway, France, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Austria, and Sweden.

Cornwall Insight research analyst Jamie Maule said: "The UK's sluggish pace in rolling out EV charging infrastructure poses a significant threat to our transition away from petrol and diesel cars, and towards a greener and cleaner transportation system.

"To achieve our EV targets, it is essential that we see a major acceleration in chargepoint installations. Without this increase, we risk undermining the progress towards decarbonising the UK's roads and we could see a delay to broader environmental goals.

"Fear around a lack of charge-points is a major reason why many people hesitate to switch from traditional vehicles to EVs. This news could further discourage people from making the move."

Maule said that, following the upcoming General Election, the next government needed to make the expansion of charging infrastructure central to its EV policy if genuine decarbonisation of the UK's transport system was to be achieved. 

He said: "This includes ensuring that existing policy schemes - such as the Rapid Charging Fund - are implemented swiftly and efficiently and barriers in the planning and grid connections process are removed."