If you ask most EV drivers in the UK what their biggest problem is, it’s no longer range-anxiety. Instead it’s charger-anxiety and in particular getting to an EV charger and finding a long queue to use it. This is because while the number of new electric vehicles in the UK is growing at almost exponential rates (+77% growth in 2021 and running at 88% growth so far in 2022), the number of public ultra-rapid chargers is not keeping up. This means that compared to a couple of years ago, when you do find an EV charger there is likely already someone there using it, sometimes meaning a 30 minute wait or more.
The solution to this problem isn’t just more ultra-rapid chargers, but more ultra-rapid charging hubs of 4 or more charge points in strategic locations across the UK road network. This means that EV drivers can have confidence that however busy a location becomes there will always be a charger available for them.
This sounds like a good solution and the even better news is that the number of ultra-rapid charging hubs in the UK is set to at least double over the next few years. Voltonomics has been tracking the planning, construction and launches of ultra-rapid charging hubs on our tracking map and our latest set of data shows an encouraging trend. There are already 62 ultra-rapid hubs operational across the UK and this number is set to at least double with another 66 new hubs either planned or under construction.
A lot of these hubs are being installed in service stations and retail parks, which is speeding up the delivery time as much of the infrastructure is already there, with just substations and the actual EV chargers needing to be built. This is likely to mean that many of the hubs are built over the next year, seriously increasing ultra-rapid capacity and reducing EV drivers pain!
Many of the existing ultra-rapid charging hubs are operated by Ionity and MotorFuelGroup (MFG) who have been busy installing banks of chargers at fuel stations and motorway services. However our analysis also shows that relative newcomer Gridserve is quickly gaining ground and actually have the highest number of new hubs planned and under construction, with a total of 39 either already operational or planned to launch soon. Some of these are their game-changing Electric Forecourts planned in strategic locations such as Gatwick, Stevenage and Gateshead. Many others are being installed at motorway services, making use of the companies recent acquisition of Ecotricity’s Electric Highway network.
Our chart shows that just behind the top three operators (Gridserve, Ionity and MFG) are other UK charging start-ups Osprey and Instavolt with almost 20 charging hubs between them. Noticeably absent are the fossil-fuel companies who have promised much but so far delivered only a few hubs, for instance Shell have 6 hubs and BP only has 2 ultra-rapid hubs.
We will continue to track the progress of this important roll out on our tracking map. It certainly is an exciting time for EV drivers, with more ultra-rapid hubs being submitted for planning permission every month, which can only further accelerate the shift to EVs in the UK.
Let us know if there are any hubs that we aren’t tracking yet by getting in contact, we would love to hear from you!