Electric Cars / Employee

Electric car charging points outnumber petrol stations

Petrol stations are in decline and electric car charging locations are on the up. So much so that electric charging points overtook the number of petrol stations for the first time in the UK in May 2019.

With more of us adopting electric vehicles than ever before, it’s reassuring to know that the charging infrastructure is expanding. But where are these charging points? How do you access them? And what more can we expect from electric charging infrastructure in the future?

Petrol stations are dead – long live the charging point

In 2000, there were around 14,500 petrol stations in the UK. By 2018 that number had shrunk to just 8,400 with around 300-400 forecourts closing each year.

As of May 2019, data from ZapMap – an online charging point locator – reveals that there are now 8,471 electric charging points with a total of 13,613 charging devices. These numbers reflect an accelerating change away from fossil-fueled cars towards hybrid and electric vehicles.

The increase in the number of charging points is matched by the fast-paced change in electric car adoption. In the 12 months to May 2019, the number of locations that drivers can charge their car increased an enormous 57%.

As we mentioned in an earlier article, charging points weren’t originally distributed evenly across the country. But the latest push to extend the infrastructure means there are more charging points in more locations including the previously neglected Shetlands and Cornish riviera.


More electric vehicles = more charging points

With range anxiety – the distance an electric vehicle can travel on a single charge – the number one concern of people considering an electric car, this extended infrastructure can only be a good thing.

Particularly with the increasingly fast take-up of electric vehicles. Back in 2013 there were just 3,500 EVs on the road. Today, there are more than 214,000.

And with government strategy and a range of incentives pushing consumers and businesses to adopt greener technology, analysts predict this number will rise to over 1 million by the end of 2022.


Where will you be charging your car?

Unlike petrol and diesel, electricity can be accessed by drivers from pretty much anywhere with a standard electric socket or a purpose-built charging point. Which means we’ll be able to charge at:

  • Home – plug in to a normal electricity socket for a long, slow charge or install your own charging point to fill your battery within the hour.
  • Work – more employers are installing charging points to support the take-up of low emission company cars and employees who’ve invested in new electric cars.
  • Petrol stations – ok, so they’re not exactly dead and we don’t think fuelling stations will die out completely. Particularly with many drivers opting, in the short term, for hybrid vehicles which require petrol or diesel as well as electric. Fuel retailers are already taking steps to install electric charging points at their forecourts to diversify their offering. And it’s likely they’ll remain relevant for people seeking a charge on longer journeys or those who need an emergency top-up.
  • Public places – electric charging points are popping up everywhere; lamposts, public car parks, railway stations and retail parking lots. Almost anywhere you can park your car. Take a look at ZapMap to see just how many charging points are within a five mile radius of your home.
  • Motorways – the most obvious charging points have been installed at motorway service stations. Banks of Tesla, Ecotricity and other branded charging points are ready and waiting to charge your new electric vehicle.
  • Charge wherever – although this isn’t in the UK just yet, Chinese company NIO offers electric car drivers the option to access mobile charging. Simply request a top-up and NIO’s mobile charging vehicle turns up, provides a place to plug in and charge vehicles wherever they happen to be.


Charging times are coming down

As with all new technology, the next evolution promises more of the same but faster. The same applies to charging points. Currently, rapid chargers are rated at 50kW enabling a battery to be charged in 40 minutes. The next generation of ultra-rapid chargers will be rated 350kW and have been designed to quickly energise the batteries of the next generation of longer-range EVs.

As the march towards electric vehicles persists, the infrastructure making it all possible continues to expand. This can mean only one thing: EVs are here and they’re going to stay.

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