EV nightmare as millions left with no access to charging points across Britain

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Electric vehicles underwent a major boom in 2021 with the Tesla Model 3 becoming the UK’s second best selling car. Between 2019 and 2021 the number of battery electric cars rose by 586.8 percent with one in six new cars registered in 2021 being electric. Meanwhile though, charging infrastructure has failed to keep up with the heady pace. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) the number of standard charge-points grew by just 69.8 percent during this time.

Public charging points are particularly crucial for the third of British households without access to off-street parking such as those in towns and cities.

Worryingly though the rollout of charging points has proved uneven with a clear regional divide emerging between North and South.

According to the SMMT, at the end of 2020 the ratio of chargers to cars in the North was 1:37 compared to 1:26 in the South.

By 2021 this had deteriorated to 1:52 in the North and 1:30 in the South.

The findings match recent data from charging point mapping service Zap Map which found London far out ahead with 102 public chargers per 100,000 people.

In comparison the North West had only 24 and Yorkshire and Humber 26 per 100,000.

Northern Ireland meanwhile only had 18 charging devices for every 100,000 people.

As well as access, prices can also vary considerably with British Gas recently warning of a “postcode lottery” with people in the West Midlands paying around a third of the price to charge their cars as those in the South West.

The SMMT has outlined a seven step plan for the Government to tackle the issues with the pace and evenness of the charging point rollout.

Among the proposals is a call for legally binding targets with a new regulator, dubbed Ofcharge, to ensure affordability and accessibility is maintained.

The group also wants to see more ringfenced funding for local authorities to encourage investment in local charging points.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “Our plan puts the consumer at the heart of this transition, assuring them of the best possible experience backed by an independent regulator.

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“With clear, equivalent targets and support for operators and local authorities that match consumer needs, government can ensure the UK has a charge-point network that makes electric mobility a reality for all, cutting emissions, driving growth and supporting consumers across the UK.”

Currently sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles are set to end in 2030 making easing the transition for customers moving to electric cars more important than ever.

The SMMT predict with right support the number of plug-in cars could reach 9.3m by 2030 and 18.4m by 2035.

As of the end of 2021 there are 48,770 charging point connectors.

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