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UK lags behind Europe with its electric vehicle charging infrastructure

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Research conducted by specialist new-energy research and consulting company, Delta-ee, shows the UK lags behind other European countries when it comes to electric vehicle (EV) charging.

The study shows the speed of EV home charging differs significantly between the UK and the rest of Europe, such as France, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway. Nearly three quarters of German users enjoy the fastest rate of home charging of 22kW or higher. The same power level is available to only 20% of British drivers – a result of the predominantly single-phase residential electricity supply across Britain.

“Residential electricity supply on the continent lends itself much better to high-power uses such as fast home EV charging than in the UK. Our reliance on single-phase supply could hold us back in the future. Twelve-hour overnight charges are one thing, but as the EV transition gathers pace and battery sizes grow – and we potentially pivot to electrified heating too – this may become a cause for regret,” explains Alexander Lewis-Jones, EVs and Electricity Product Manager at Delta-ee.

However, the UK also stood out as having the lowest proportion (22%) of EV drivers using regular plug sockets to charge their cars, and the highest proportion using dedicated EV charging points for home charging (73%) – in Germany only half of respondents said the same. The findings suggest that EV drivers in Britain are diligent about safe and proper charging, and that the OLEV grant has been a successful policy in encouraging those behaviours and making them affordable.

“This is evidence that the UK Government’s home charge point grant has been a great policy success. Let’s hope this continues when, from July this year, we transition towards giving grants to ‘smart’ home charge points to help accommodate EVs into the energy system. Single-phase supply is a drawback, but this is an opportunity for the UK to lead Europe on advanced home charging solutions,” adds Lewis-Jones.

“The other side of the coin is public charging infrastructure. The reality is drivers won’t go electric until the public infrastructure is in place, but if we get it right, it could also compensate for any shortcomings in UK home-charging. However, as it stands, the UK is an archipelago of unconnected public charging islands, which is not the case on the continent. Our data shows that, if the UK is serious about being a leader in the EV transition, we need to invest strategically and work collaboratively with the customer’s journey at the front of our mind.”

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