Pierre Jeannes, VP of Operations for Mr. Electric, explains the need to upscale the UK electric charging infrastructure in order to meet the increasing demands of electric vehicles.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are making increasing inroads across the UK as consumers are looking to become more sustainable and green, while also being able to reduce rising fuel bills and taxation.
Electric vehicle technology is fast maturing, and as demand for environmentally friendly options increases and technology develops, we’ll undoubtedly see a rise in the number of alternatively fuelled vehicles on our roads. Today, there are around 60 different electric models (electric and plug-in) now available in the UK, more than 130,000 registered EVs on UK roads, and a growing public charge point infrastructure of over 5,000 locations.
Government grants for alternatively-fuelled vehicles (pure and hybrid electric vehicles) have also contributed to the accelerated purchasing of EVs, coupled with a growing trend among environmentally and economically-minded drivers.
As a society, we have a corporate social responsibility towards the environment and we have an understanding of how EVs have the ability to revolutionise travel – making the roads quieter, the air cleaner and creating a more pleasant environment. While the initial upfront purchase price of an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle can be higher, this is offset by lower running costs over the lifetime of the vehicle and can offer a number of potential savings compared to conventional vehicles.
One customer who recently made the switch to electric was Alan Plaice, a customer of Mr. Electric Cornwall & South Devon. Alan, who lives in Truro, says: “We have two EVs in our household – my wife’s is a hybrid and mine is 100% electric. We already have solar panels installed on our roof, which have proved very cost-effective for us, so it made total sense to switch our cars to electric and ultimately reduce the air pollution.
“Having made the initial EV investment, which was costly as we bought BMWs, we then needed to find a reputable local electrical contractor who could install the car charging point at our home, as well as replace our domestic fuse box. Mr. Electric carried out the work for us and were extremely professional and helpful throughout the project.”
He adds: “We have a Rolec WallPod EV charging point, which is compatible for our cars and is located by the back door for use, as and when required. Mr. Electric is also currently helping us to apply for the OLEV Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme so we can hopefully get a refund of up to £500 on the cost of the installation. We’re keen supporters of sustainable green transport and really happy that we made the change – EVs really are the future!”
While the focus is to push for EV adoption in a big way, the need for a parallel development of a charging infrastructure is paramount, but also poses huge challenges. The big question is whether the supply of EV charging infrastructure can catch up with the growth of EV demand.
If the UK wants to be a world leader in this market, we need to put a charging infrastructure network in place – including boosting residential power grids, installing smart technologies and investing in workplace and public charging points.
Evidence suggests that the UK network of EV charging points is on the rise. It has increased from a few hundred in 2011 to more than 5,920 charging locations, 9,939 charging devices and 16,698 connectors (by June 2018), with numbers rising every month (source: Zap Map).
The proportion of charger types has also changed significantly during that time with a surge in high power (rapid) units being installed across the UK.
We believe that the ongoing growth of EV ownership in the UK will be reliant on the wider availability of charging infrastructure for consumers and businesses alike, particularly as prices come down and technology improves.
If we’re to see a national network of high-powered EV charging stations grow, there needs to be greater public and private investment in developing the necessary technology to roll out the infrastructure needed. As expert electrical installers, our network of electricians are ready now to support those wanting to realise the opportunities in EV charging.
For more information about Mr. Electric and how you can join the network visit: www.mr-electric.co.uk