‘Urgent action needed’ to speed up installation of electric vehicle charge points

Urgent action is needed to speed up the installation of electric vehicle charging points across the Midlands region, according to transport body Midlands Connect.

‘Supercharging the Midlands’, a new report authored by the sub-national transport body, suggests that electric vehicle (EV) use will increase by more than 3,000 per cent by the end of the decade and that installation of public EV charging points must be six times as fast to support growing demand.

Midlands Connect said that, at present, 93 per cent of EV owners had access to off-street parking and could install an at-home EV charger.

However, a third of Midlands households do not have off-street parking and so would need to rely solely on public chargers to power their EV.

Research among more than 3,500 people across the Midlands reveals that a lack of public charging points is a concern for 55 per cent of motorists and is a factor that puts them off switching to an EV.

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Anxiety about battery range was also an issue for half of respondents.

Despite these concerns, 77 per cent of those questioned (with access to a petrol/diesel vehicle) would consider buying an EV next.

Estimates suggest that, by 2030, the Midlands could be home to more than 1.7million EVs, with over one in four vehicles being electric.

At the moment, less than one in every 100 vehicles is an EV, Midlands Connect said.

To support this growing number of EVs, 39,410 new public charging points must be installed across the Midlands by the end of the decade.

This means installing 11 new points every day until the end of 2030 and the speed of installations needed to meet these targets is more than six times the current rate.

The research said that, although private investment in public charging points was available, many local authorities struggled to secure financial backing for sites that were less commercially viable, particularly those in rural or residential locations.

Limited capacity at National Grid sub-stations also presented operational challenges, the transport body said.

Transport bosses are concerned that a failure to increase public charger installations could slow down the take up of EVs and have negative environmental consequences.

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Maria Machancoses, chief executive of Midlands Connect, said: “We’re in the grip of a climate emergency and when it comes to installing EV charging points the Midlands cannot fall behind.

“We know that being worried about not being able to charge when needed is a major factor that puts many off making their next car electric – this needs to change.

“By working together to create a regionwide EV strategy and overcome the challenges of installing the infrastructure we need, we can move one step closer to decarbonising our transport network.

“Local authorities across the Midlands are doing a great job to roll out charging points but they cannot do this alone.

“Government, the automotive industry and private suppliers must all play a part in speeding up the roll out and ensuring councils have the support they need.”

Business Live – West Midlands