EZ-Charge urges public and private sector collaboration to meet 2030 target

Peter Shadbolt, Chief Technology Officer at EZ-Charge, explores the future of UK EV charging infrastructure.

The UK has just exceeded the latest milestone on the journey towards EV, with 50,000 public-facing chargers now in operation.

Since 2018, the rate of progress in EV infrastructure in the UK has followed a steep curve, with an increase of 10,000 charging points seen between February and October of 2023 alone.

However, there is still quite a way to go to achieve the Government target of 300,000 charging points by 2030.

With convenience, reliability and cost being key considerations for EV users and site owners alike, it is vitally important that quality as much as quantity guides the delivery of EV charging infrastructure going forward.

With applications now open for the first tranche of Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) funding, local authorities are poised to become prominent players in the future development of the country’s EV infrastructure.

The role of the public sector is especially important as off-street car parks make ideal sites for EV charging. Often located in residential areas, public car park charging points extend EV access to those who may not have the option of charging at home. Overnight charging provides use of the space that may otherwise be vacant, as well as the option to charge at a lower cost with dual band tariffs.

The key to a robust charging network lies in providing convenient and accessible charging points across a diverse array of sites to attract the greatest number of EV users. This means efficiently using space not only in the public sector, but also by fostering collaboration with the private sector to deliver an effective charging infrastructure mix.

By installing charging points on their premises, private businesses are often able to provide services that are conveniently situated close to town and city centres and major roads.

Installing charging points also serves to boost the appeal of business facilities, which can increase footfall and time spent on site by customers, in addition to introducing a new revenue stream.

While the rate of public charging point installation must continue to increase to meet targets, numbers alone will not be sufficient to build a network that encourages drivers to make the switch to EV.

In addition to placing charging points in convenient locations, the varying requirements of different EV users must be placed front and centre of infrastructure planning.

‘Long stay’ or overnight charging delivered by 22 kW AC fast chargers would be most appropriate for locations where the user intends to leave the car charging for a prolonged period.  In the public sector this includes car parks and in the private sector, this could be suitable in hotels, spas, sports clubs, and attractions such as theme parks.

However, many EV drivers are simply looking to ‘top-up’ their charge or will only be on site for short periods of time, for example, at a service station, where ultra-rapid, 100kW+ DC chargers are required.

By fostering greater collaboration between the public and private sector, the UK can meet its future EV targets and deliver an accessible, resilient charging network catering for all drivers.

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