Number of electric car chargers in the UK soars by over 30%

There are now 30,290 public electric vehicle chargers in operation in the UK – a huge 33% increase on the number available this time last year.

New figures published by the Department for Transport (DfT), sourced from mapping provider Zap Map, show that some 7500 new devices have been installed across the country over the past 12 months – of which 1235 were rapid devices with an output of 25kW and above.

In the past three months alone, the tally has been increased by 1915 units.

Recently, the UK government announced a bold plan to increase the number of EV charging stations tenfold by 2030, injecting £450 million into its dedicated infrastructure strategy fund.

The government aims to have 300,000 chargers in operation across the UK by 2030, which it says would be five times as many traditional fuel pumps currently in operation.

The DfT said this increase has been spread across “all regions of the UK” but noted that there remains “an uneven geographical distribution of charging devices within the UK”.

It says that several local authorities have applied for government funding to install chargers but others haven’t. That’s reflected in data that shows London has 111 public chargers per 100,000 people, while the whole of Northern Ireland, for example, has just 18.

When it comes to rapid chargers, the divide is even more stark. Scotland has 13.6 per 100,000, while Northern Ireland has just 1.3. On a more local level, the North West of England has 5.9 per 100,000, while the North East has 9.4.

On average across the UK, there are 45 public chargers per 100,000 people, but EV uptake is expected to continue rising exponentially as the 2030 ban on new ICE car sales looms.

Last month, there was a 78.7% year-on-year increase in EV registrations, meaning electric cars now have a 16.1% market share.

The number of public chargers has increased exponentially in line with EV sales. The DfT’s figures show that there were only around 2000 devices in operation at this point in 2015, rising to 10,000 in 2018.

But the rate of expansion isn’t uniform across the country. Last quarter, the number of chargers in London rose by 9.4%, while the uptick in Northern Ireland was around 10 times slower. But that trend was completely reversed for rapid devices specifically: London recorded a 1.9% increase in these, while there was a 13.6% rise in Northern Ireland.

The DfT highlighted that “the number of available devices can fluctuate for a range of reasons”, noting that while new installations contribute to an overall increase, the numbers can dip when devices are temporarily or permanently decommissioned – and direct replacements (even with an uprated device) obviously have no effect on numbers.

The DfT adds that Zap Map covers 95% of public chargers so “true counts are therefore likely to be higher”.

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