EV charging survey reveals trends in Britons’ charging behaviour

Zap-Map has published its annual EV Charging Survey which analyses usage of Britain’s electric vehicle charging network.

The survey is based on the responses of more than 3,000 EV drivers across the UK with the aim of uncovering new trends in charging behaviour, most notably in the area of high-powered, ‘en route’ charging and the increasing popularity of charging hubs.

It found a significant increase in both the installation and usage of high-powered (ultra-rapid) charging devices across the country in 2021. With the vast majority of EV drivers (93%) continuing to use the UK’s public charging networks, and 40% using public chargers at least once a week, the survey found that rapid chargers (25kW to 99kW) are still used by the most EV drivers overall.

However, the report also revealed that the usage of ultra-rapid chargers jumped to 27% of EV drivers, up from just 16% in the previous survey.

Another trend the survey highlights is the growth in popularity of EV charging ‘hubs​’. Typically, groups of between four and ten charging devices, these hubs feature rapid or ultra-rapid devices that can generally add between 70 and 200 miles of range in around 30 minutes charging time.

As a result, the survey also found that networks installing these charging hubs saw high increases in demand from electric vehicle drivers. InstaVolt leapt up to 42% of EV drivers from 26% previously. GRIDSERVE Electric Highway was another popular choice in its first year at 29%, while high-powered networks​ IONITY and Osprey also saw huge increases in the proportion of drivers using their networks.

Although charging hubs led the way in terms of growth of usage, supermarkets and motorway charging stations remained the most used charging locations for EV drivers, with 52% and 50% of respondents claiming to use those chargers most frequently.

Supermarkets have also seen an increase in chargepoint installations, highlighted by Tesco’s having recently reached the milestone of installing EV chargers at 500 stores across the UK. In this instance, free charging sessions on the network increased from 500,000 in April 2021 to more than two million by the end of February, an increase of 300% over the past year. Since Tesco, Volkswagen and Pod Point launched the network in 2019, the charging points have provided more than 41 million miles of free electric driving to motorists – the equivalent to travelling from Earth to the moon and back 85 times.

As well as this, motorway service areas have seen charging facilities being upgraded over the last year by GRIDSERVE. In addition, both retail and public car parks remain popular locations for charging, although usage has dipped in the last year.

Melanie Shufflebotham, Zap-Map Co-founder & COO, commented: “As the number of EV drivers on the road approaches half a million, a robust charging infrastructure is essential, and the public charging network is growing and developing to meet these changing needs. This new survey shows that the 60% growth in high speed ultra-rapid chargers and the installation of charging hubs across the UK in 2021 are being used by an increasing proportion of EV drivers.

“We know that EV charging use cases are diverse, as the survey makes clear, and we absolutely need a range of charge speeds to match them. However, amongst other considerations, the demand for high-powered chargers revealed in this report indicates that ultra-rapid chargers and charging hubs continue to be a crucial area of investment – for the simple fact that they make long journeys easier.”

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