In the UK, there were a record number of public charging stations for electric vehicles in 2022

British companies have installed an unprecedented number of public-electric car chargers in 2022, as they try to control a rapidly growing and potentially lucrative market.

According to Zap-Map (a data company), there were over 8,700 public chargers in the UK for the year ended 22 December. This brings the total number of available public chargers to more than 37,000. This was a 30% increase in public chargers year-over-year, which is slower than the 38% annual growth of sales of battery electric vehicles during the year to Nov.

Boris Johnson’s government set a goal of 300,000 charging stations that are publicly available by 2030. This will mean that sales of pure petrol and diesel cars will cease. The target would be met if the annual growth in chargers would exceed 30% year-on-year. However, that would mean more than doubling the number of installations to 19,000 by 2025.

According to Ben Nelmes (chief executive of New Automotive), many industry professionals consider the 300,000. target realistic despite the enormity of the task. He said that although charger companies receive more investment than they can use, there may be problems if local authorities are slow to act.

Chris Pateman Jones, chief executive at Connected Kerb said that he expects a significant increase in the number of chargers during 2023 but that “much more must be done” if the country wants to be EV-ready by 2030.

He said that local authorities must install charging points in their areas – not just one or two. However, the central government has a role in places such as NHS sites.

He said that while scale remains the biggest challenge for the EV industry it is equally important to install it in the right places, where there is the greatest need. Collaboration between the central government, local authorities and businesses are essential for unlocking the funds needed to complete the transition. It is also crucial that local communities are educated about the benefits of electric cars.

Some owners of electric cars reported waiting in line for chargers during peak periods for long-distance travel, such as Christmas and New Year. But, Zap-Map co-founder Melanie Shufflebotham chief operating officer said that “en route” fast and ultra-rapid charging stations were “going in at an excellent rate”, with almost 1,000 additions by 2022.

Ultra-rapid and rapid chargers can deliver more than 25 kW (kW) and over 100 kW respectively. They can add up to 200 miles of charging in less than half an hour.

This ultra-rapid market has attracted substantial funding from companies like Instavolt, Tesla, and Shell as well as oil companies BP and Shell. En route charging promises steady stream users who will pay a premium to get faster top-ups. This also creates a captive audience for shops and restaurants that use the services.

Shufflebotham stated that the number of slower street chargers is increasing “quite quickly, but patchily”, partly due to very different approaches by local authorities.

There were 7,000 new fast or slow chargers that could reach 22kW by 2022. For millions of households without off-street parking, on-street chargers will be essential as they can charge quickly overnight.

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