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Survey reveals importance of public EV charging network

Next Green Car today announces the first results from the latest EV survey conducted in partnership with KiWi Power, Carbon Trust and the High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute (HSSMI) who are working with InnovateUK to investigate viable ways of integrating electric vehicles (EVs) into the national grid.

The survey, which was conducted in July 2015, provides strong evidence that the availability of charge points can influence where EV drivers decide to park. This implies that car destinations can attract more customers by investing in EV charging infrastructure.

The results of the survey also shows that, despite most EV users having a home-based charger, almost 70% use a public charging point at least once per week. In contrast, the results indicate that workplace chargers are far less common with over half of EV users having no charging facilities at work.

In detail the survey finds that, of the EV users sampled, 81% of respondents have access to a dedicated EV charging point at home. 19% have access to a dedicated EV charger at their place of work with 14% using this work-based charger. The majority (51%) report no EV charging facilities at the workplace.

While much evidence to date suggests that public charging network is not a pre-requisite for the success of the EV market, 90% of EV users in this survey state that they regularly use publicly available EV charge points. Moreover, they do so with the following frequency: 68% at least once per week (36% more than once per week); 22% around once per month; and 9% less than once per month.

Regarding the type of public charge points used, 67% of the participants report using all charger types (3kW-50kW+) with 31% only using rapid charge points (defined as 43kW+). Of those using all charger types, 45% use standard 3kW units; 80% use fast 7-22kW chargers; 20% use rapid AC 43kW units; and 62% utilise rapid DC 50kW chargers. To a large extent, these figures are likely to reflect the availability of chargers across different parts of the UK.

The survey also asked respondents to estimate the length of time their EVs were on-charge at a public charging point. The results are that: 50% charge for less than 2 hours; 37% for 2-4 hours; 5% for 4-6 hours; 5% for 6-8 hours; the remainder charging for more than 8 hours or selecting 'Don't know'.

UK survey: public EV charging

The typical level of charge at the start of charging (as assessed by participants and when using a standard or fast charge point) shows a wide range of values with the majority plugging in with less than 60% battery charge available. In detail the results are: 24% starting at 0%-20% charge; 35% at 21%-40% charge; and 25% at 41%-60% charge remaining.

As mentioned above, the presence of EV charging facilities is a key factor for EV users in deciding where to park. While this may seem obvious to many existing EV drivers, the survey highlights the importance of this factor and quantifies its importance. The survey finds that 95% of all those surveyed select a public parking location based on whether an EV charging points is available at that location (52% always; 43% sometimes) with less than 5% stating that it was not a deciding factor.

One other finding of this initial set of results is that 67% of the sample report the regular use of a particular public slow or fast EV charge point, implying that their EV charging has become part of daily routine. The points which are regularly used are sited at the following types of locations: 32% in retail car parks; 25% in public car parks; 21% in local authority car parks; 10% on-street; and 6% at workplace locations.

Commenting on the survey, Dr Ben Lane, director of Next Green Car and Zap-Map said: "The results demonstrate the importance of the public EV charging network for EV users. While the vast majority rely on home-charging, 7 out of 10 frequently top-up at public locations at least once per week. It is therefore imperative that the government should continue to invest in a national, and above all, reliable public charging network. The survey also highlights the low number of workplace charging facilities; future investment should be made to ensure all business locations are EV-ready for the benefit of employees and customers alike.

"The new findings reveal the important role that EV charging infrastructure can play in attracting customers to retail and leisure destinations. As the number of EV users grows, so will the demand for EV charging facilities at car parking sites. Yet another good reason for parking service providers of all types to install high-quality charging units together with clear signposting and a sufficient user support."

Notes: The online EV Survey was conducted between 3rd and 15th July 2015 inclusive, and was promoted on zap-map.com and nextgreencar.com and by these site's respective newsletters. A self-selected sample of 203 participants was first screened for EV ownership resulting in 178 completed surveys. In return for providing an email contact, an incentive was offered of two £50 gift tokens to be drawn by lottery. All results are reported to nearest percentage point; totals may not add up to 100% due to rounding error plus 'Don't know' responses. The above results are taken from the first of two data-sets, the second of which will focus on Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) issues (to be reported at a later date).

Next Green Car

Ben Lane

Author:Ben Lane
Date Updated:22nd Jul 2015

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