e-mobility

UK drivers are deterred from switching to electric vehicles (EVs) because they do not have access to chargers at home, a new report has found.

That’s according to a survey of 500 people by UK EV infrastructure company Connected Kerb, to understand how charging infrastructure can be designed around user needs.

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This gave unique insight into what convinced people to buy, and what needs to be done to win over waverers. It concluded that access to charging where cars were already parked – but not public rapid chargers – was a key factor in decisions to buy.

The issue of charging

EV drivers want to charge whilst parked, not at a charging station.

Sixty-four percent of EV owners do the majority of their charging overnight, with a few more doing it at other times at home.

Only 11% charge at public rapid chargers, 5% at ultra-fast chargers, and 5% at work, mostly those who do not have a place to charge on their property.

Sixty-one percent of EV drivers – mostly those who charge at home – said public chargers were only useful when they were away from home.

Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of Connected Kerb, says: “This shows that EV drivers charge at home if they possibly can. They use public chargers only when their preferred option is not available. They do not think like petrol vehicle owners, going to a fixed location to ‘fill it up’ – once people buy an EV their mindset quickly switches to wanting their car to charge whilst it is parked, so that it is charged when they get in.”

Weighing the EV uptake

The research suggests that the current focus on rapid charging infrastructure disincentivises EV uptake.

For those who charge at home, 67% would not have bought an EV if they did not have home charging.

Of those who could not charge where they parked, 91% said they would if they could.

Of those who do not own EVs, 40% said they did not have somewhere to park it overnight where they could charge it, and this was a barrier to purchasing. 30% specifically said they were disincentivised because charging would be too much hassle.

On the other hand, 89% would be encouraged to make their next car purchase an EV if they had access to a private space – on-street or at work – where they could charge while parked.

What do these findings mean for the future of EV infrastructure?

In its recent budget announcement, the UK government allocated a £500 million ($595 million) budget over five years to implement rapid charging hubs in the country, as well as a £10 million ($12 million) allocation for kerb-side chargers, which bodes well for the transition from emission-causing internal combustion-powered vehicles.

Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of Connected Kerb, says: “This shows that EV drivers charge at home if they possibly can. They use public chargers only when their preferred option is not available. They do not think like petrol vehicle owners, going to a fixed location to ‘fill it up’ – once people buy an EV their mindset quickly switches to wanting their car to charge whilst it is parked, so that it is charged when they get in.”

Pateman-Jones concludes: “This also risks creating a two-tier system, where wealthy people with driveways have EVs, whilst poorer areas are trapped with polluting petrol and diesel vehicles.”

The full report will be downloadable here from the 20th of March.

“If we want to go from a few early adopters to near total EV uptake in 15 years, the ideal would be for everyone to have a home charger. But since this is impossible for those without a driveway – we need alternatives that meet the same expectations of charging whilst the vehicle is parked.”