As the EV market grows, it will need a strong backbone of charging infrastructure to support it. Publicly accessible chargers worldwide nearly hit 1.8 million charging points in 2021. While this is an incredible increase compared to a few years prior, the numbers are just not keeping up with the sales and production of EVs.
Number of chargers
Currently, there are a wide array of EV charging stations used across the globe. According to the US Department of Energy, there are 51,000 public EV charging stations in the U.S and Canada. In the UK, there are now more than 42,000 charge points, according to edf energy. Although this is a lot more than previous years, a greater EV charging network will aid the full transition to electrification.
It is predicted that for the EV industry to make an effective response against climate change, at least 20 percent of all road vehicles must be electrified by 2030. However, in order to reach predictions, charge points will be needed to meet the needs and numbers of mass charging stations across the globe.
Not only does the number of EV charging need to increase, but the number of these charges being fast chargers, also needs to grow. Of the 500,000 chargers that were installed worldwide in 2021, only a third were fast chargers.
While it is a step in the right direction for homes and public establishments to have EV chargers, it could potentially take a homeowner around 43 hours to charge their vehicle from full to empty using a typical slow charger. Fast chargers facilitate longer journeys, and as they are increasingly deployed, will tackle range anxiety.
Fast chargers are being rolled out at a much quicker rate than slow charging in China. In 2021, fast charging installations increased over 50% to 470,000 fast chargers and 40% of publicly available chargers are fast chargers.
According to Iea, Europe ranks the highest in slow chargers with over 300,000, with the slowest to increase among major markers being the U.S.
As the EV market grows, consumers will be expecting simple services that makes transitioning to an electric vehicle worthwhile. Charging an electric vehicle should be as quick or quicker than filling up conventional ICE vehicles to make it beneficial for the consumer
Geographical locations of charge points
Another issue facing infrastructure is the regional disparities in deployment that need to be addressed. For example, in London there are 80 public charging devices per 100,000 while in Yorkshire, there are 20.
In China, Korea and the Netherlands, the ratio between EVs and charging points is under 10 EVs per charging point. In the U.S, there are currently around 50,000 EV charging stations in operation across the country. Of these, 93% are publicly accessible, and 17% are on non-urban roads.
This creates skepticism for potential EV owners, and many are reluctant to buy until there is more visible infrastructure that is accessible to everyone.
In the UK, the government has launched a £950 million rapid charging fund to support the roll-out of at least 6,000 high-powered charge points across England’s motorways and major A-roads by 2035. The government has also pledged £500 million to improve on-street parking.
Back in November, President Joe Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law which saw the government grant the Department of Transportation a whopping $7.5 billion to invest in building out national electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Expanding EV charging networks will make the EV experience more enjoyable and improve driver experience. It will bolster the global EV industry and give a unique opportunity to create reliable and accessible charging.
Creating a balance
A balance needs to be found as charging points are needed for two main reasons: to enable long-distance journeys and to support those without off-street parking. The government expects many EV owners to do most of their charging overnight at home.
However, when and where people would like to charge is unknown. Many energy companies are offering cheaper tariffs when homeowners are charging overnight.
Octopus energy told MOVE: “With access to an EV specific tariff, such as Intelligent Octopus, customers are able to charge up overnight when energy is cheaper and greener. Charging this way is much more convenient too – simply plug in overnight and set the amount of charge you need for the following morning through our app. An average EV driver can save as much as £1,125 on their fueling costs compared to an equivalent petrol car.”
Not everyone is lucky enough to have home charging stations, and local authorities around the globe have an obligation to develop convenient charging points for business and customers wherever they are.
Rising energy prices
Although the rise in energy costs has been a pressing issue for many households it is still cheaper to charge your electric vehicle than filling up a petrol-powered vehicle.
“Wholesale energy prices are up to five times higher than they were a year ago due to the fossil fuel crisis, which is exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. The Government and energy suppliers are doing all they can to cushion the impact on consumers. We’ve already absorbed £150m of these costs on behalf of our consumers, and we’re using 100% of our profits to keep energy bills as low as possible, but of course, prices have still been rising.” said a spokesperson from Octopus Energy.
Many fear that the figures for charging their vehicles will soar in the coming months, with many being dissuaded from switching to EVs. We will expect to see a rise in the cost of EV charging in the foreseeable future, however, this will still be significantly cheaper than filling up ICE vehicles.
The government has a clear ambition to make EV chargers as easy as refueling petrol or diesel cars. With government grants expanding EV charging networks, companies are taking charge to introduce new legislation and create accessible charging points for all EV owners. For the full transition to be made to electrification, EV owners must feel the globe’s charging network is beneficial and reliable to eradicate range anxiety.