UK’s public EV charging network rose by 45% in 2023

Latest government report shows that the total number of public electric car chargers in the UK went up to almost 54,000

Taking another step in making electric cars more accessible for everyone, the number of public EV chargers in the UK has gone up to 53,700, marking an increase of 45 per cent over the previous year, as per the latest UK Government report.

The Department for Transport’s (DfT) quarterly report on electric vehicles’ charging network reveals that a total of 16,622 new EV chargers went live last year. This follows a 9 per cent rise in Q4 when total installed devices increased by 4,457.

Slower charging devices – with a power rating of 3kW up to 8kW – continued to account for the majority of chargers, with 31,910 units, accounting for 59% of the network.

However, more than 10,000 devices had a power of 50kW or above, representing 19 per cent, or nearly one in five of all charging devices.

> UK fails to meet target of at least six rapid EV chargers on motorways by 2023

Out of all the public charging points, almost half of them were designated as ‘destination’ chargers, while over a third were ‘on street’ chargers.

Last month, reported that rapid chargers were gaining in popularity in the country, with leading UK-based rapid electric charging network company Osprey revealing that it had more than doubled its rapid EV chargers in the UK in 2023.

As of 2022, Osprey had some 400 chargers across the UK. But in just 12 months, it has increased those by more than 600, by partnering with major brands and landlords, including Starbucks, Supermarket REIT and Dacorum Council.

Osprey EV charging site in Devon

One interesting reveal was that the expansion in charging infrastructure has actually outpaced the take-up of plug-in vehicles. Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that registrations of new battery electric cars rose 16.5 per cent in 2023 while plug-in hybrid car registrations rose 39.3 per cent.

> Fastest-charging electric cars – 10 of the best options available now

The news comes after several industry leaders, including Moto Hospitality’s CEO Ken McMeikan as well as Andy Palmer, former CEO of Aston Martin and often called the “godfather of EVs” for launching the Nissan Leaf criticised the UK Government’s policy and strategy around electric vehicles.

Just earlier this month, a report from RAC revealed that the UK had failed to meet its target of having at least six rapid EV chargers on motorways by 2023, based on a pledge made by the DfT in 2022.

Meanwhile, EVA England, which is working to accelerate the transition to electric cars, has welcomed this recent news of charge point growth.

James Court, chief executive of the association, told Fleetworld: “Recent stats show that EVs represented over 16% of sales last year, meaning a growing number of EVs on UK roads and, crucially, more EV drivers making use of our public charging network.

“Our most recent EVA England survey revealed 12% of EV drivers are already solely reliant on the public network to meet all of their charging needs. We urgently need to see charging infrastructure keep pace with increasing demand, and today’s figures give EVA England confidence in the future.”

> Rapid revolution: Osprey more than doubles its rapid EV chargers in the UK in 2023

While the DfT said public charging provision increased in all regions of the UK, its figures for Q4 show the South West had the greatest increase at 17 per cent, whilst the North East had an increase of four per cent. London had the greatest increase in the absolute number of devices at 1,553 devices, followed by the South West at 524.

Richard Hebditch, director of T&E England, said: “A growth rate of charge points of around 45% in one year is a heartening achievement – and shows that it’s more than possible to meet, and even exceed, our target of 300,000 public charge points by 2030.

“But there are still big regional disparities in charge point distribution and that needs to be tackled as a priority. For a government elected on a promise to level up the country, ministers need to deliver the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) funding so councils in regions such as Yorkshire and the North West can level up their provision of charging instead of relying on London to deliver the numbers.”

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