New report calls for ‘reboot’ of public EV charging

A new report that surveyed over 1,000 UK EV drivers found that 80 per cent sometimes find charging their vehicle publicly to be a challenge.

Commissioned by energy infrastructure company SMS plc, Powering up public EV charging takes an in-depth look at the state of public EV infrastructure across the UK, through the prism of those that rely on it today. Although 94 per cent of EV drivers said they love their electric vehicle, around two-thirds (67 per cent) said they wish they were better informed about public EV charging before they made the switch to electric.

The report also found that nearly all EV drivers rely on public charging to some degree, with just five per cent charging exclusively at home. By contrast, four times that number (20 per cent) are completely reliant on public infrastructure, having no EV charge point at home or at work. A significant majority (70 per cent) said they have limited public charging options in their area, with 81 per cent acknowledging they often had to wait to gain access to a charge point. According to SMS, the problems are exacerbated by the wrong types of chargers being in certain locations, as well as chargers often being out of service.

“Home EV charging may be on the rise, but it’s critical that the UK’s growing number of EV drivers have adequate access to fully functioning public EV charge points while they are on the move,” said Mark Winn, head of EV Strategy at SMS. “However, in the race to meet EV charging expectations, targets and market share, companies have deployed – and continue to install – the wrong type of chargers, in the wrong location.

“Added to this, the payment options are either substandard or created to monopolise the market, and infrastructure maintenance seems to be firmly off the ‘to-do’ list. This is creating a ‘perfect storm’ of customer dissatisfaction, frustration and charge anxiety for EV drivers, and the future of electric motoring in the UK is coming under unfair scrutiny as a result. We simply must do more.”

Charge anxiety means that over two-thirds (67 per cent) of respondents are prepared to pay a premium to reserve a public charging bay. Just over a quarter (27 per cent) are willing to part with up to £10, and 33 per cent up to £5.

“EV infrastructure always needs to be planned with three Rs in mind: right time, right location and right speed,” said Winn. “EV may be a nascent market, but this doesn’t mean that there is any excuse for providing the public with substandard EV charging solutions. If we want to avoid a public backlash against EV adoption, then greater due diligence must be applied to EV charge point installation deals.”