The UK Needs 10 Times as Many EV Stations for Reliable Charging

Jane Lu
· 4 min read
Nowadays, better fuel economy isn't the only selling point for
electric vehicles
(EVs) and plug-in hybrids. Policymakers and manufacturers are starting to put more focus on combatting
climate change
and adopting stricter emissions reduction goals. Automakers like Stellantis have promised to have either an electric or PHEV version of each of their vehicles by 2025.
More options mean it’s more likely that consumers will find an EV they want, but there's still one big roadblock. According to
, EV drivers in Britain might not have enough charging stations to share. What are European lawmakers doing to help consumers switch to electric?
The U.K. will need a lot more charging stations to make EVs accessible.

How many charging stations does the U.K. need?

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has praised Britain’s growing network of EV charge-points, but certain areas are struggling. The CMA estimates that the country needs 10 times more charging stations. It currently has a little over 25,000. By comparison, the United States houses around 41,500 EV charging stations.
To meet the U.K.'s
zero-net emissions goal
by 2050, the nation would have to expand its charging network by 2030. In 2030, a ban on new gas and petrol cars in the country is also set to go into effect.
If citizens are only allowed to purchase EVs in the future, implementation of additional charge-points needs to happen quickly. An estimated 8 million households will be left without charging stations at the current rate.
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Additional concerns from the CMA

CMA's research also found that Electric Highway's charging stations might be oversaturating the market and competition is limited. The provider owns 80% of all charge-points in the country, most of which are located along major highways. This overabundance of charging stations in certain areas leads to charging "deserts" in other areas of the country.
London and its surrounding cities have taken up a majority of charge-points, according to the
. 45% of the newest charging stations are located here, but the area should only be allotted 27%. This leaves other areas with fewer than 10 charging stations per 100,000 people.
CMA has opened an investigation against Electric Highway, which the company is cooperating with. It's unclear what Electric Highway's next move will be to manage these disparities.
This problem is also exacerbated by the postcode lottery system to develop charging stations. Charging stations in rural areas are subject to higher taxes compared to more populated areas. The tax on charging at home is only 5%, but most U.K. citizens don't even have their own garages.

What else is the U.K. doing to improve EV infrastructure?

The rush to build more EV charging stations stems from the U.K. government's push to ban gas-powered cars within the decade. Dealers are still permitted to sell hybrid cars until 2035, after which these vehicles will be phased out in favor of EVs. Additionally, hybrids can only be sold if they produce significantly less carbon than their gas counterparts.
The government says it will hold a conference next year to determine which vehicles are eligible for that exception. Previously, lawmakers stipulated that these vehicles had to have at least 50 miles of electric range. According to
This Is Money
, 98% of hybrids failed to meet these strict requirements when the Road to Zero plan was announced in 2018.
The ban on gas and petrol cars was also bumped from 2040 to 2030, showing the U.K.’s dedication to cleaner cars. Lawmakers have also assured customers that EV charging will be just as easy as regular gas fill-ups.
Increasing charge-points ten-fold won't be easy (or cheap), but it's a necessity to promote EVs. Along with access to charging stations, it's also important to have the right car insurance coverage for an EV or hybrid.
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