Charging the Nation?
Can we meet the demand for electric vehicle charging points?
The demand for electric vehicle charging points is set to rise significantly in order to meet future demands and develop transport infrastructure. Potentially this is another key source of income for electricians as more businesses roll out electric vehicle charging points which in turn will lead to charging points being installed at domestic properties.
EV to date
Currently any business that is forward thinking enough to install electric vehicle charging points make the news! As much as that is great publicity, more needs to be done to develop a growing demand for sustainability. The government wants the uptake of electric vehicle (EV) charging points to increase so has set aside funding to pay for EV charging points.
One of the main barriers to the wide spread use of the electric car is the availability of EV charging points. As of September 2013, only 4,100 electric cars had been registered, with local authorities across the UK having spent £7.2 million installing EV charging points since April 2010.
If the governments aim of cutting carbon emissions and developing the transport infrastructure to meet future needs is to come to fruition, then greater use of electric vehicles is a good way of achieving this. Developing a new network of rapid charge points will be necessary to fulfil this aim.
Just over a week ago, IKEA announced that all 18 of its UK stores will have electric vehicle charging points by the end of the year. They have teamed up with Nissan and green energy supplier Ecotricity.
The EV points will deliver an 80% charge to an electric car within 30 minutes. This will make IKEA the first major retail chain to offer the much anticipated 'rapid charge' points at every store.
Is demand for EV charge points growing?
The electric vehicle market is growing which in turn is putting a bigger demand on developing the required infrastructure.
So far in 2013, in excess of 1,500 LEAFS, Nissans all new electric vehicle, have been sold. This figure is 3 times up on comparable sales of the LEAF in 2012.
Additionally, research carried out by POD Point, who are one of the leading UK charging infrastructure providers reveal that IKEA in Wembley was the most popular place to charge an electric car in the whole of the London network.
What else is happening?
Aside from the Nissan and IKEA developments, sales of all electric cars in the UK reached nearly 1,150 in the third quarter of 2013, an increase of 25% on the second quarter.
The governments £5000 Plug In car grant scheme has achieved a record 1,149 new registrations, the highest figure of any quarter since the scheme began. This suggests that the electric vehicle market is growing leading to a demand in vehicle charging points.
Electric vehicle charging point demand
Sustainable development consultancy Electric Village have announced that demand for charging station hosts and locations is growing particularly in prime locations such as city centres, high streets, suburban areas and major highways. They estimate that within the next 18 months there will be a requirement for 5000-6000 new locations for EV charging points to support the £37 million funding initiative by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) which have supported 78 infrastructure projects in the UK. A further 4000 sites are required by private sector organisations such as car companies, fleet operators, taxi companies and energy companies.
So it is clear to see demand is growing!
Whether the demand for EV charging points can be met will require the combined efforts of many.
• Local leaders need to develop local initiatives to ensure the planned infrastructure fits in with community needs and priorities.
• Electricity distributors need to factor in additional demand from electric vehicles as part of their plans to reinforce the grid.
• Electricity suppliers have an opportunity to develop new tariffs for electric vehicles.
• Businesses and investors need to act on commercial opportunities for EC charging points.
The government is currently funding £400 million to support the early market for electric vehicles which comprises of purchase grants, installing charge points as well as research and development. This package will end in April 2015.
After this, the government is planning a further support package to last until 2020 of £500 million which will build on the current package. This package will support inward investment as well as increasing vehicle uptake.
EV charge points and vehicles is a fast moving market and updates are happening frequently. It will be interesting to see how the range of different parties that have been brought together will help to make this market a success.