Avoid the queues and home charge
28 June 2021
As the UK’s roads increasingly become the domain of the electric car, it is important for EV drivers to anticipate queues at public charging stations.
The notion of a quick five-minute stop to charge, for many drivers, may in reality, turn into a long wait in turn, for access to a public charger, that takes 20 to 40 minutes to fully charge a vehicle, subject to the battery.
In April 2021, we wrote of the growing network of public chargepoints and how this is enabling longer journeys in electric vehicles.
Of course, the more access there is to public chargepoints, in theory, the shorter the wait time.
However, public chargepoints, whilst growing in numbers, cannot alone, sustain future demand for EV charging.
That is true around the world, with an article in The New Yorker, emphasising the challenges.
Closer to home, a BBC article in February 2021, indicated that the public think-tank the Policy Exchange, reported a danger of "charging blackspots" being created in small towns and rural areas, unless the roll-out of public-chargepoints is increased.
It projected that the UK will need 400,000 public chargers by 2030, when the UK Government’s deadline is up for sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles. There are currently around 35,000 public chargepoints in the UK.
Policy Exchange senior research fellow Ed Birkett said: "Companies are rolling out charge-points at a record rate, but there's a risk that some areas of the country won't get enough charge-points and will be left behind.
"We're concerned about patchy deployment of charge-points, which runs against the government's plans for levelling up and a strong and connected Union."
Many public chargepoints will not be free to use and may only be accessed by subscribers.
With automotive manufacturers introducing new electric and hybrid vehicles to the market on an almost weekly basis, the sheer volume of EV drivers is only going to grow significantly, putting more pressure on the existing infrastructure and increasing wait times.
So the argument for home charging is a compelling one.
Charge at your car at your leisure from home
Suggestions have been put forward, that owners of home chargepoints could potentially hire their power to neighbours to help make the EV industry more sustainable.
Certainly, the smart technology is already in place to enable this to happen, with “customers” having a unique pin and able to drive up to the chargepoint and gain access to make payment and charge.
That opens up opportunities for existing EV drivers and we are still relatively in the foothills of this evolving industry, with increased demand for chargepoint access likely to intensify.
Company chargepoints are already playing an important role in encouraging the use of electric vehicles and this will continue.
However, not all employees will be able to make use of such schemes, while communal chargepoints may still result in waiting times and are not for everyone.
So the solution is to charge at home, in privacy and at your own time and convenience.
With the exception of longer journeys, this may well reduce the amount of time you need to spend at public chargepoints and tapping in to cheaper domestic energy tariffs may well prove more cost-effective.
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