One Welsh county has only three public charging points for every 100,000 residents
Britain may be on the verge of an electric car revolution but Welsh drivers wanting to change to greener personal transport may struggle: the eight counties in the UK with the lowest number of chargers per person in Britain are all in Wales, government data has revealed.
Rhondda Cynon Taf has only three public car chargers for every 100,000 residents, putting it bottom of a league table of English counties, Scottish council areas and Welsh principal areas published on Saturday from the Department for Transport and private sector data provider Zap-map.
Wales’s Caerphilly and the Vale of Glamorgan only have four and five chargers per 100,000 people respectively.
Essex has only nine public chargers for every 100,000 people, making it the worst county outside Wales. London had the highest concentration of car charge points in the UK, with 49 for every 100,000 people.
The Isles of Scilly and Barrow-in-Furness were the worst local authority areas within counties for drivers looking for charge points: the data shows there are zero public charging points in either location.
More than 100 local authorities had fewer than 10 public chargers per 100,000 population.
The lack of charge points across the country is thought to be one of the most important factors holding back the consumer take-up of electric vehicles, with drivers wary of being stranded on longer journeys – even though the vast majority of car journeys taken by British people are well within the range of new electric cars.
Consultancy Capital Economics last month estimated that the UK will need 25.3m charge points in 2050 to hit the legislated target of net zero carbon emissions. The majority of these will be privately owned but 2.6m will be required in public places. There are currently only 15,000 in public places and only 2,500 of those are fast chargers. The estimated cost of installing chargers across the UK is £45.9bn.
There is a broad political consensus in favour of rapidly increasing the number of electric car charging points in the UK, but some experts are concerned that a market-led approach to charger rollout could lead to poorer areas being left behind.
Keith Anderson, chief executive of ScottishPower, which commissioned the Capital Economics report, said the government should give local communities more power to manage the transition to lower-carbon technology.
“In a few years, our roads will look very different, with electric cars and buses dominating,” he said. “The way we heat our homes will change as well, as gas is phased out in favour of heat pumps. These changes to transport and heating will place huge demands on our energy networks – and we need to ensure we have the infrastructure in place to anticipate these dramatic changes.”
Labour has pledged to spend £3.6bn on a national charging network if it wins the general election. The Conservative government has so far committed to spending £1.5bn by 2020 on its “road to zero” strategy, as well as funding half of a £400m fund for charging infrastructure.
Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, said: “Your postcode should play no part in how easy it is to use an electric car, and I’m determined electric vehicles become the new normal for drivers. It’s good news there are now more charging locations than petrol stations, but the clear gaps in provision are disappointing.”