Charging the future: The evolution of UK electric vehicle infrastructure

Electric car charging station

Electric Vehicles, or EVs, have only been commercially viable for around a decade. In that time, though, they have become the future of private transport – and rightfully so, as climate change worsens and public support grows stronger for sustainable change. How, though, are EVs fitting in to the UK’s infrastructure?

Expansion of Charging Networks

The long-term success of EVs as a new standard for private transport is only made possible by the confluent expansion of infrastructure to support their usage.

Simply put, this means publicly available charging points that enable travel across the country without risk of running dry on the road.

At present, the growth of such infrastructure is not matching the demand for it. For example, the 2023 motorway charger target is unlikely to be met. This is despite the total number of public chargers jumping 33% in one year and companies like Shell announcing they will install 50,000 chargers by 2025.

EV uptake is increasing, and a 2035 ceiling for full-scale roll-out (which we will touch on shortly) is not looking to be met. However, commitments have been made to quicken the pace of charge point roll-out, with government co-ordination central to the process.

Impacts on EV Adoption

While uptake of EVs is increasing, much of this increase can be ascribed to the exponential growth of EV options in automotive markets. In looking to buy used cars for sale near you, you are far more likely to find affordable EV options than you were in previous years.

However, the pace of EV iteration and development has also been somewhat exponential, with older electric cars not quite measuring up in power or range to new models.

With this in mind, there are those that intend to wait until the average cost of purchasing an EV decrease, which it will with the wider-scale rollout of EV design and manufacture.

There are also those that are unconvinced by government promises regarding EV infrastructure installation, who might intend to wait until the infrastructure is already in place before entrusting their travel to an electric model.

Government Regulation and Support

The government’s role in enabling EVs to become a new normal is nothing short of essential, but recent moves by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak have somewhat destabilised efforts by local councils and the automotive industry to meet pre-existing targets.

Previously, as part of the government’s semi-ambitious net-zero strategy, a 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol or diesel vehicles had been announced.

This legislation was designed to put pressure on manufacturers to adopt EV design as a new standard, which it had successfully achieved. However, the PM recently announced a delay to this legislation, increasing the date to 2035, and drawing the ire of manufacturers attempting to comply with sustainability frameworks.

“We’re going to ease the transition to electric vehicles. You’ll still be able to buy petrol and diesel cars and vans until 2035,” Sunak said in a speech.

Our opinion on this is simple – easing the transition to electric vehicles will see some charging networks stagger the installation of chargers due to projected lower EV adoption. The winners will be those that press ahead with installations.

The Future

What, then, does the future hold for EV adoption in the UK? EV and EV charging technology is still in its relative infancy, and fresh innovations are emerging all the time.

Fast-charging designs have improved and improved, and existing charging stations are already somewhat outmoded. As battery capacity and vehicle range improves, EVs will soon become cheaper, and roads will soon be adapted to better accommodate a more technologically-oriented private transport renaissance.

Jakk is the founder and chief editor of Top Charger. He drives a Volkswagen ID.3 Family Pro Performance, and despite having a lead right foot, he consistently gets over 200-miles of range.