Last week’s poll: electric car charging infrastructure

Is the government’s announcement of a £2.5m fund for installing electric car charging points on residential roads a welcome step?

Last week the Department for Transport announced an additional £2.5m to install over a thousand electric vehicle charging points on residential roads, a doubling of previously available funds. The grant is intended to help people who do not have off-street parking to access charging points, and thereby to encourage the take-up of electric vehicles. This, the Department’s announcement states, will support the UK’s commitment to reach net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050.

But some experts raised doubts about the wisdom of the policy, pointing to uncertainty around consumer behaviour in relation to EV charging, as well as technology type (AC versus DC) and disparity of operating systems. We asked our readers what they thought of the move, inducing a huge response (more than 1,100) split right down the middle of the two leading options. Perhaps reflecting wider scepticism on EVs in general, 45 per cent of respondents said the move was a poorly-thought-through gimmick from the government. Conversely, 44 per cent felt that the funding was a welcome step. Six per cent believed the policy would be ineffective due to its timing, while five per cent chose the ‘none of the above’ option.

“We managed 6-weeks using public charging in Lancaster while we waited for our home charger to be installed, this will make things even easier,” Tom Foreman commented. “Suggest they install 22Kwh Type 2 AC posts which will future proof the infrastructure as future EVs will have larger and larger batteries as battery energy density improves and prices come down. 350Kwh DC chargers should be used at MSAs and other busy main road stopover points.”

Reader Stephen Kemp felt charging points were only a short-term solution to a bigger problem.

“As a hybrid car user I am convinced that the provision of street charging is not going to work,” he said. “I enjoy the quiet clean electric power but to get away from petrol/diesel totally we need to look at the ability to provide a full charge in minutes not hours. To me that means we need hydrogen fuel cells, not simply charging points. We should be planning infrastructure to be effective in 2030 not a sticking plaster for now.”

Other commenters claimed that the real issue was about generation capacity rather than charge points.

“The big questions should be ‘Where are we going to get all this additional electricity from?’ and ‘How are we going to upgrade the infrastructure to distribute it?’,” wrote John Dominey. “Charging an electric car at home with a medium-speed charger is like leaving the electric shower on all night. If just a few people in a street decided to do that it’d blow the local distribution fuse!”

As always, we welcome continued discussion on this subject. Readers should familiarise themselves with our guidelines for the content of comments before submitting, and we remind all contributors their comments are moderated before publication.