On-street charging gap: infrastructure needed outside London to keep pace with EV adoption

The UK needs to “up the pace” of its charging infrastructure roll-out and “do more outside of London”, if households without driveways are not to be left behind in the transition to electric vehicles.

That’s the verdict of Vauxhall managing director James Taylor, commenting on the latest government statistics that show the number of on-street electric car chargers has increased by 69 per cent over the last 12 months.

“It’s a good signal, but we’re still at the beginning of the journey,” says Taylor. “4,094 new installations is a start, but next year it is forecast there will be hundreds of thousands more new EVs being registered to comply with the Vehicles Emissions Trading Scheme – we are making progress, but more is needed to match demand.”

The scheme – commonly referred to as the Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate – comes into force next year, and will require a minimum of 22 per cent of new cars sold, and 10 per cent of new vans, to be electric. The mandate on minimum EV sales numbers is being implemented by the government in spite of its delay, from 2030 to 2035, of the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles. 

The government’s October 2023 figures reveal there are now 18,943 ‘on street’ charging devices located in residential areas, which accounts for 38 per cent of all the public chargers in the country. However the regional spread is very uneven, with London being the best served. Residents in the capital benefit from 193 public chargers (all types in total) per 100,000 of population, while the UK average is 73 chargers per 100,000. Regions with the lowest number of chargers per 100,000 of population include Northern Ireland with just 23, the North West with 42, Yorkshire and the East Midlands with 46, the East of England with 52 and the South West with 54.

 “Residential charging infrastructure is a fundamental factor in the shift to electric. As the Government rightly says we need to cater for tomorrow’s demand and a greater visible presence will only serve to boost consumer confidence to go from interest to buying,” Taylor added.

The Electric Streets of Britain initiative launched recently by Vauxhall was intended to encourage councils to identify areas of greatest demand for on-street charging, after the car maker determined that 70 per cent of councils having no published on-street charging strategy.

Now read our guide to charging an electric car in the UK


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