CEO Update

As plug-in sales boom public infrastructure rollout must keep pace

03 December 2021 #CEO Update

With 212,181 new plug-in cars registered between January and September this year, demand for these new technology vehicles has never been higher. One in six new cars sold in 2021 is capable of being plugged in and there are now over 115 models to choose from, with many more on the way.

But if the UK’s electric vehicle revolution is to continue advancing at such pace, everyone, regardless of where they live, must be confident that they could live with an electric car. And the biggest concern shared by many prospective purchasers is charging; does it exist, is it convenient, affordable and working!

And for those without access to a dedicated parking spot or driveway, this means public on-street charging.

While manufacturers are investing billions in new vehicle technology, however, the public infrastructure needed to keep uptake on track is lagging behind. The number of plug-in cars potentially sharing a public charger increased from 11 to 16 between 2019 and 2020 and just 4,109 new standard public charge points were installed in the first nine months of this year, roughly one for every 52 new electric cars registered.

The UK now ranks one of the the worst amongst the 10 global electric vehicle markets with 16 plug-in vehicles to one public charger. South Korea (3:1), the Netherlands (5:1) and China (9:1) all offer their drivers significantly better coverage.

Recent Government funding for infrastructure comes as welcome news but more private sector investment in public charge points is a necessity. We need to see binding targets for charge point rollout and reliability, akin to those proposed to be placed on the sector for EV production.

Ultimately recharging should be as easy as refuelling and only this will give all car buyers the confidence to switch to an electric vehicle.

Decarbonising road transport is essential if we are to address climate change, but it needs a framework that compels all sectors to match the commitments made by automotive. This is a topic that will be at the heart of SMMT’s Electrified 2022, our first major event of the new year.

More than 300 senior level representatives from across the automotive sector as well as fleet and logistics professionals, government and consumer groups will explore progress from the perspective of mass market adoption, whilst investigating policy, infrastructure and energy challenges and at home and abroad.

SMMT Members are eligible for one complimentary ticket per member organisation, and they are available now. For more information and details on sponsorship opportunities please contact the Seventy Events team by email:

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