Research reveals wide variations in public charging access

Research reveals wide variations in public charging access

A new report has revealed a significant increase in the number of households living close to public chargers, but with wide variations between local authorities.

New research from Field Dynamics, in partnership with Zap-Map – the UK’s leading EV charging app – shows that the percentage of households without the space to charge at their own property, but who live within five minutes’ walk of a public EV charger so they can easily plug in their car and walk home, has risen from 12% to 17% since 2020.

This is a significant overall increase, of more than 40%. However, the report also finds that increases in coverage are very inconsistent across different councils. For example, of the 225 councils that provided 10% coverage or less in 2020, the increases since then range from 0% additional coverage to 24%.

Indeed, the report highlights that there is plenty more work to be done – especially outside of London. Field Dynamics found that while London boroughs now achieve an average of nearly 60% coverage, other councils average less than 14%.

In terms of other major cities, however, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow scored slightly better than many other councils outside of London, together achieving an average of just over 19%.

In this case though, Birmingham brought the three cities’ average down, with only 12% of households unable to charge at their own property living within five minutes’ walk of a public charger. Manchester and Glasgow achieved 22% and 24% respectively.

“We welcome such a significant increase in the number of chargers just a five-minute walk from households without a driveway, but it’s clear that the Government and local authorities need to increase availability to meet demand," said Zap-Map Co-founder & COO Melanie Shufflebotham.

“It can of course be a complex task to find and develop new sites, but we need to see much greater urgency, across the country.

Significantly, in its previous 2020 analysis, Field Dynamics found that placing chargers closer to those dependent on them can reduce the number of chargers required by up to a factor of 4.8.

Local authorities that performed particularly well in the analysis were the City of Brighton & Hove, and Portsmouth, which both achieved remarkably high percentages within their catchments of those unable to charge at home but within five minutes’ walk of a public charger, with 77% and 59% respectively.

Other local authorities to come out well in the analysis were Watford with 47% coverage, followed by Coventry with 45% and East Lothian with 43%.

With rapid growth in the popularity of EVs, particularly due to the rising cost of petrol and diesel, Zap-Map is calling for faster development of charging infrastructure to support the more than nine million households in Great Britain that do not have space to park and charge ‘off-street’.

“EV drivers are helping us reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and cut our carbon emissions, so let’s help them do the right thing. That means more on-street chargers for those that need them, supported by high-power local charging hubs and upgraded charging infrastructure at destinations,” Shufflebotham continued.

In particular, local authorities should leverage the government’s £450 million Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Fund (LEVI), which is intended to boost projects such as EV hubs and innovative on-street charging, so those without driveways don’t miss out on cleaner transport.

“The clear summary of this report is that there is very little consistency in approach and outcome, there is little correlation between demand and investment and finally little standardisation between the different council types," said Field Dynamics Managing Director Ben Allan.

"This inherently means that while some are getting it right, many are getting it expensively wrong and will carry on doing so for some time.”

Olly Goodall

Author:Olly Goodall
Date Updated:1st Aug 2022

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