UK Government consultation on plans to simplify public EV chargers
Why purchase an EV
Besides fuel cost savings, you might want to purchase an EV because of its low carbon footprint. EVs don’t emit any harmful pollutants to the environment like soot, hydrocarbons, lead, ozone, carbon monoxide, or volatile organic compounds.
Electric vehicles also have low maintenance costs. That’s because you no longer get to spend money on fuel, oil, engine checkups, and so on. Once you purchase an electric car, your only worries should be your battery percentage and tire replacement.
EVs are becoming more affordable as more automakers join the race. Most manufacturers have affordable EVs that everyone can try out and know whether it’s the right fit. In the UK, the deal is sweeter because you get a £3,000 grant. Therefore, if the car is worth £30,000, you get to purchase it for £27,000 before any negotiations.
The driving experience of EVs is another reason for buying one. With their batteries being low to the ground, they have a better center of gravity. If you are one for spirited driving in the back roads, you will enjoy throwing the car into a corner and having lots of torque to propel you out of the corner.
EVs are suitable for everyone. If you want a quiet ride, EVs are ideal because there is no engine noise. You can listen to your favourite music or podcasts on your way to and from work. They provide you with a great environment, and you can purchase an EV in any trim that you would like.
Charging your EV
Filling a petrol or diesel car is quick; however, this isn’t the case when charging an EV. It will depend on the charger and, at times, the battery temperature. You have two charging options in the UK:
Charge from home
Charge from a residential or public charger network
The charger types that you will come across include:
Common for homes and can connect to a 13 amp socket. This is the slowest method of charging an Electric Vehicle.
Common with charge points and can either be a type 1 or 2 connector. This is the most common type of charger found in both residential and business use.
Also common in charge points and can either have a type 1 or 2 connector. These types of chargers offer the availability to switch out the cable types.
There are three charging speeds, namely: slow, fast, and rapid. The slow option is suitable for homes and establishments, and it’s typically 3kW. It’s ideal when you are charging the car overnight or when at work. Using this option will typically take between 8 to 12 hours.
The fast option is an upgraded version of the 3kW charger, usually with an output of 7kW these are the most common chargers installed at home properties. At this charge speed you can expect your car to be charged between 3 to 7 hours. However be aware that the charge time will always depend on the battery size in the EV itself.
Lastly, there is rapid charging. These are the fastest charging options currently available for EVs. Ranging anywhere from 21kW to 50kW these chargers support rapid charging technology. It usually takes between 20 to 40 minutes to recharge your EV to 80%. These chargers are much more expensive than their slower counterparts due to their requirement for a 3-phase power supply.
Rapid chargers are generally found in service stations or supermarket carparks, in the public domain. A great example of a commonly spotted rapid charger are the Tesla Superchargers which are often found in motorway service stations across the UK.
Charging hurdles in the UK and the solutions
In the UK, EV drivers have to undergo some hurdles with the public charging network. Drivers have to download apps, fill in their personal details (including credit card information), wait for the app to communicate with the charger, and then begin charging.
Even though this is a one-time ordeal, it’s not a pleasant one. However, to combat this, the government is working to ensure that all charging points have contactless payment. The solution provides all EV owners with a single payment option for all charging stations.
More so, the government is working towards installing more charging infrastructure for all to use. The most common being the On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS). These charge points will come in handy for plug-in hybrids and EVs. Installing these charge points on the street means that many residents can plug in their car as soon as they park.
With the Government aiming to ban the sale of all vehicles with an internal combustion engine in 2030, they are working hard to ensure that there is a reliable charging network. They aim to achieve this by injecting £16.7bn into the EV charging infrastructure. By the end of 2030, they estimate to have 1.7 million public EV charge points and 2.8 million charge points by 2035.
The Government and automakers have to work together to make a successful transformation to EVs by 2030. The Government has to provide a reliable charging infrastructure for everyone to use while the automakers work on range issues with their vehicles.
The government aims to ensure that charging an electric vehicle feels the same as refuelling a car. The consultation launched by the Department of Transport (DfT) aims at ensuring that there are better measures to transform the charge point experience.
Some of which include contactless payment and reliable charge points. The government also wants operators to provide 24/7 support to drivers for quick response to any issues. They also propose that charge point operators tabulate their EV charge costs, power output, and location data.
Electric cars are indeed part of the future. However, for more people to invest in them, automakers must work on range reliability while the Government works on building reliable infrastructure.