The government has an ambitious target of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. And a lot will need to change to hit this. But a key one?
The number of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.
And they’re going to need a lot more than is currently available if the plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030 goes ahead.
EV vs Petrol - The current landscape
Which do you think there are more of? Petrol stations or EV charge points?
The answer might surprise you.
According to Zap Map, as of 28th March 2022 there were 19,100 charging locations in the UK totalling over 30,000 devices and over 50,000 connectors.
The number of petrol stations? 8,000. And that number is declining. The problem is, however, that while the number of EV charging points is on the rise, they're not evenly distributed across the country.
EV charging station regional inequality
The UK ranks fourth in the world for electric chargers per electric vehicle (only behind China, Japan, and South Korea). Yet we can see regional inequality in distribution when looking at the data. For example, the Greater Manchester Area has only 17 stations per 100,000 people, whilst London tops the country with 102 per 100,000.
Infrastructure investment and planning will be critical to balance the current disparity in EV charging points to ensure that no region is left behind as demand for electric vehicles drives forward.
But we still need more EV charging stations
And speaking of demand, while the number of new EV charge points rolling out across the country continues to rise, they’re just not being built fast enough to keep up with consumer adoption.
Between 2019 and 2021, the number of EV charge points grew by 82%. But this pales in comparison with the 600% jump in new electric cars bought in the same period.
There were over 1.6 million cars registered in the UK in 2021. Out of that, 305,000 were either electric cars of the BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) or PHEV (Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) variety. Which equates to 18.6% of the total market .
By the end of 2022, it’s predicted that electric cars will outsell diesel and mild hybrid diesel.
And with the huge rise in oil prices we’ve all endured in early 2022, this forecast could turn out to be conservative. Many drivers may switch to EVs sooner than originally planned as a result.
To power this demand, construction of the UK’s first gigafactory (where the batteries are made) is underway in Blyth, in the North East of England.
There are a further eight gigafactories forecast to be in operation in the UK by 2040.
The EV business opportunity for developers
With the rise in EVs, developers of all types will need to factor in charging facilities to keep the nation's vehicles moving.
The good news is that work is already underway on this. LandTech has analysed planning data over the last three years. This data shows that there has been an increase in planning consents for electric vehicles (either in isolation or as part of a wider development).
We expect this number to continue on its upwards trajectory in the coming years.
This explosion in EV adoption has had another consequence – a rapid increase in EV forecourts.
2021 saw the first of its kind in Braintree, Essex. Operated by GRIDSERVE , in conjunction with Arup, there are plans for a further 100 of these in the next five years.
Looking at planning application data within LandInsight., we picked up nine planning applications from GRIDSERVE for new forecourts.
This will no doubt get the attention of other developers who may see the opportunity. BP has already partnered with the EV Network – an infrastructure development company – to deliver a ‘significant number’ of new ultra-fast EV charging hubs in areas where there are large volumes of traffic.
The USP of EV forecourts
Why bother visiting an EV forecourt? Why will a user drive out when they can charge their car at home, or at a local charging station?
The main reason – saving time. Not all charging stations are created equal.
For example, in January, Shell converted its former petrol station in Fulham into an ultra rapid EV charging station which has nine 175-kW chargers, which are capable of charging many EV models from 0% to 80% in just 10 minutes.
To provide a bit of context, the table below outlines the speeds you can expect based on their description.
The profits for operators is significantly less than filling a vehicle with petrol/diesel but they’ll also likely see an uplift in sales at the forecourt store.
Food retailers will be eyeing up the opportunity to run the forecourt stores. Why? Because consumers will have more time to wait while their vehicle charges vs filling up a petrol car. They’ll be more likely to make impulse purchases while they pass the time.
The latest data, from Zap Map (see chart), shows there is a very low proportion of Ultra-rapid charging points across the UK.
Source sites for EV charging stations
EVs aren’t coming anymore, they’re here. If you want to be where they are, sign up for a demo to see how LandInsight can help you take advantage of the vehicle shift.
Calum is a Sales Manager for LandInsight. He is the proud owner of Malcolm, the lovable cockapoo (half Cocker Spaniel, half Poodle) who you may hear in the background every once in a while if you call the office. Malcolm, that is, not Calum.