In this guest post, Stephen Johnson, CEO of EV charger provider Evec, provides an overview of the EV landscape and explains why it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to support the evolution of electric vehicles.
The UK is experiencing a major shift in attitudes towards electric cars. An ever-expanding range of electric models from an increasing number of manufacturers is now available on the UK market.
Most people believe electric is our future, and the Government has now committed to Net Zero targets that will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2030. If the UK is going to achieve this shift, then consumers need to be persuaded to make the necessary green choices.
Brands and corporates, with backing from Government and the public sector, together need to take responsibility and lead the consumer to make this transition.
Clearing up the myth
Whilst car manufacturers are expanding their ranges, the technology is still very new, and there is a lot of confusion and myth, particularly concerning EV charging. In general, there are 3 classifications of charging:
- Level 1 (3KW) slow charging
- Level 2 (7KW) fast charging
- Level 3 (22KW) rapid charging
Currently, Level 2 charging is the most common level of EV charger installed globally. A 7KW fast charge delivers roughly three times as much power and is approximately three times as fast as using a domestic socket.
Charge points can be provided with either tethered charging cables, hard-wired to the charging station, or untethered, with just a socket, so you use your own charging cable. Many public charging stations offer both options. Then there are different connectors (Type 1, Type 2 and CHAdeMO being the most common) and variable rates of charging from the different suppliers.
The process seems daunting, but is becoming easier all the time as the public charging network expands and EV plug types become more standardised. Despite the recent energy crisis and soaring prices, electric vehicles remain cheaper to run than conventional petrol and diesel vehicles.
The growth of the EV market
Increasing consumer awareness of green issues has led to a surge in ownership of electric vehicles, with over 810,000 fully electric cars on UK roads as of the end of June 2023 and a further 510,000 plug-in hybrids. This has been matched by a vast expansion in the number of electric vehicle charging points.
UK-based charging point tracker, Zapmaps, has reported that there are now 44,408 electric vehicle charging points across the UK, across 25,521 charging locations. This represents a 36% increase in the total number of charging devices since June 2022, plus, all the private charge points at homes and businesses across the country.
The charging conundrum
Despite this growth, there are concerns that the growth in charge points is not keeping up with the growth of electric vehicles on our roads. There is a disproportionately high percentage of charge points in London, as opposed to our northern towns and cities. As we approach the 2030 deadline, the expansion of charge points needs to step up considerably.
Simon Williams, the RAC’s EV spokesman, has said: “While the government aims to have around 300,000 charge points in place by 2030, we are concerned that this is not going to be sufficient with drivers looking to switch to an electric vehicle ahead of the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars that year.”
To help consumers make green choices, businesses will have to supply more affordable and accessible charge points throughout the UK. It is imperative that the public and private sectors work together to build the infrastructure we will need.
However, we have a chicken and egg scenario – consumers will not buy electric vehicles unless they have access to affordable and reliable charge points and yet companies will not supply them if the demand is not there first. Working together to expand the network of charge stations will be good for business in terms of attracting new customers and increasing green credentials.
The path forward
Retail stores with car parks are ideal locations for public charge points, as are stations, sports centres, theme parks and workplaces. More and more businesses are realising that electric charge points are a great staff benefit and can easily be accommodated within existing staff car parks. Government grants are available from The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) for small-medium-sized UK businesses to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure in their commercial car parks.
Local Authorities can prioritise charge points in their planning, but this will take time to filter through. If EV charge points are marketed to consumers directly, then those with the ability to install home chargers can help plug the gap in public charging. Home charge points from companies such as evec are available in both tethered and untethered options, and the charge units are becoming smaller, more compact and even programmable from your mobile phone.
Domestic energy suppliers are delivering innovative approaches to home EV charging with tariffs specifically geared to help reduce costs through overnight charging and with options for renewable electricity. Government grants are also available (called an EV charge point grant), which can help towards the cost of installing an electric vehicle charge point socket at your property. You can get either £350 or 75% off the cost to buy and install a socket, whichever amount is lower.
The technology is improving all the time, and this expanding market is sure to see new innovations on the horizon, helping us on the road to Net Zero.
Joining the family business in 2012, Stephen left behind a successful career in estate agency where he became the youngest Branch Manager in his company’s history. Harnessing his sales spirit, he joined the family business initially as Sales Director before becoming Managing Director in 2017. As the company consolidated under For Everyone Group, Stephen moved into his current role as CEO in 2022 in order to drive growth across all brands.
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