EV infrastructure: Brits need to learn from the Dutch
Recently, The Times published an article revealing the government’s plans to fit all new homes in England with electric car chargers. This positive, if long-overdue step is an important one as the rate of growth of the national EV infrastructure is still lagging behind what’s necessary to cater for the 2030 switch to EV-only new car sales.
The government hopes to build around 120,000 homes as part of “the largest single investment in affordable housing in a decade”, and while installing EV chargers on those houses would be a good idea, a number of problems become evident.
Firstly, domestic charges don’t contribute to the national infrastructure unless owners opt to rent out their chargepoint through services such as Bookmycharge. Secondly, as not all new homes will have a driveway, it’s unclear how these properties will be charging-enabled.
Finally, findings have shown that much of the UK population is still somewhat sceptical when it comes to EVs. Last September, research by Ford showed that of those wary of buying EVs, 51% gave their reason as being anxiety about charging.
What’s the solution?
Just look at the Dutch and their approach to EV infrastructure.
Not only do Dutch electric car users in towns have the right to have a charging point within 200 metres of their home, but also there are 190,000 houses in Netherlands with charging points.
In a recent study by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, the Netherlands ranked top of all EU countries for charging point provision. The country boasts 47.5 charging points per 100km of major roads and plug-in cars make up 25% of new car sales. This compares to the UK’s electrified vehicle market share of just 10.7% in the same period (2020). The Dutch progress is perhaps not surprising, considering the government there began significant encouragement of EV usage back in 2012.
What are we saying? Infrastructure is the probably the biggest barrier to EV uptake and acceptance in the UK. So, government should take a more proactive role in ensuring the roll out of public charging infrastructure is rapid and distributed fairly, to enable charging in all areas, not only urban centres.
Also, perhaps funds should be cut from funding new EV purchases (a scheme only accessible to a few) to provide longer-lasting funds to support domestic chargepoint installation (a scheme accessible to many). This way, as increasing volumes of motorists make the switch, we’d grow the nation’s domestic chargepoint network. Then, through chargepoint sharing services such as Bookmycharge, we’d have the widest possible distribution of chargepoints accessible to everyone in our society.