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London to lead Europe in EV infrastructure

London to lead Europe in EV infrastructure

2012 to 2015 is expected to be the most crucial period for the electric vehicle charging infrastructure market to advance, according to Growth Partnership Company Frost & Sullivan.

Central and local Governments will play a crucial role in the development and roll out of a widespread infrastructure, and London is expected to become the European capital of electric vehicles (EVs).

An array of initiatives, such as the "Plugged-in Place" project and eco incentive programs in diverse locations of the UK, has made the ownership and the use of electric vehicles a reasonable option over the last year or so in particular.

The support of more than 40 regional partners across both public and private sectors along with a remarkable funding of £7.8 million by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) will help North East England to establish an integrated network of electric vehicle charging stations with 1,500 charging stations by the end of 2013.

However, even though North East England has led the recent infrastructure development by installing 300 charging stations, London is expected to become the European capital of EVs. The Department of Transport has been awarded £9.3 million by OLEV for infrastructure development, and they have announced that 25,000 charging stations will be deployed by 2015.

"London has over 500 public charging stations and is dynamically adding more to it," explains Research Associate Prajyot N. Sathe from Frost & Sullivan. "The launch of the Source London scheme is working towards getting 1,300 public charging stations by 2013."

North East England has been included in the "Plugged-in places" project, which offers matched funding to business and public sector organisations who install charging stations. They have also been formulated to integrate residential charging stations with a provision for smart meters.

Nissan's strategic use of its Sunderland plant for developing electric vehicles across Europe has accelerated the government's vision to increase sustainable and 'green-collar' jobs. The ambitious targets set by the government and heavy contracts secured by leading EV infrastructure providers are the major grounds for the tremendous deployment of the EV charging stations network. Streets, car parks, residential and commercial locations, retail and leisure facilities are key strategic locations.

The introductory phases for the deployment of charging stations have been completed or are on the edge of completion. The EV charging infrastructure market is expected to grow at a vigorous rate over the next 5 years with 2012 to 2015 becoming the most crucial years for the market to advance.

Despite the £5,000 Plug-in Car Grant, there was a low uptake of electric vehicles in 2011, and the delay in the launches of several models like Vauxhall Ampera, Ford Focus, Smart Fortwo and many more was a major contributor to this situation. The introduction of a wide range of electric vehicles and releasing them on the mass market as well as the availability of charging stations to facilitate the consumers will secure EV interests.

The standardisation challenge, however, prevails, as different types of connectors and plugs will make finding a suitable charging point difficult and furthermore, the change in standards will lead to stranded assets.

According to Frost & Sullivan research findings, Europe is expected to have approximately 2 million charging points, of which the UK is likely to have 390,000 by 2017. The UK is a leader in the provision for electric vehicles and is expected to have a majority of charging stations in Europe, followed by France and Germany. However, countries such as Belgium, Estonia, Portugal and many others are following the footsteps of introducing government subsidies, grants and discounts making EVs a smart preference.

"The approximate investment in the next 7 years is expected to be 5 billion Euros with over 2 million charging points across Europe," concludes Mr. Sathe. "The ratio of charging stations to electric vehicles is likely to decrease from 2.5 to 1.8% by 2017."

M2 Communications

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