UK hits major electric vehicle charging milestone, but is it enough?

The UK has hit an important milestone in terms of electric vehicle charging, as 10,000 high-power charging devices have now been installed

Motorcycle charging electric

New data indicated that the UK has hit a significant electric vehicle charging milestone, with the country now having 10,000 charging devices that are considered to be ‘rapid’ or ‘ultra-rapid’.

The data comes from Zapmap, which reports that the Sedbergh Leisure Centre in Bradford was the recipient of the UK’s 10,000th charging device that meets ‘high powered’ criteria, meaning ‘rapid’ or ‘ultra-rapid’.

Devices that fall into the ‘rapid’ category have an output of between 43kW and 50kW, while ‘ultra-rapid’ chargers can have between 100kW and 350kW. The 10,000 rapid and ultra-rapid charging devices that are now in the UK are installed across 5,000 charging locations. Not all electric motorcycles are able to use them, but the Energica Experia is one that can, as is the LiveWire One. 

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Zapmap’s new data also indicates that the rate at which new charging devices are being installed in the UK is “accelerating”. 

“In November 2022, the overall growth of the UK’s public network stood at 34 per cent year on year,” Zapmap says. “However, a year later that figure has risen to 45 per cent overall, as of November 2023.”

There is also an increasing amount of chargers with an output of at least 100kW. In 2020, there were 788 of these, making up 20 per cent of the UK’s ‘high power’ charging infrastructure. Zapmap reports that there are now 4,504 chargers that have 100kW or more, and they make up 45 per cent of the UK’s ‘high power’ infrastructure.

Melanie Shufflebotham, Co-founder & COO at Zapmap, said: “Hitting the 10,000 high-powered charging devices mark is really important for electric car drivers across the country. Having surpassed 8,000 rapid and ultra-rapid devices as recently as May 2023, it’s fantastic to see this latest milestone arrive just in time for Christmas.

“The availability of more than 5,000 charging locations with rapid or ultra-rapid chargers spread right across the country, many of which are hubs, will give drivers confidence to drive electric wherever they go during the festive period.”

Jade Edwards, Head of Insights at Zapmap, said: “It’s great to see the UK surpass 10,000 high-powered charging devices. That’s not only because it illustrates the acceleration in the rate of charge point installation. It’s also because the data shows the increasing prevalence of the highest power devices, those with a power rating of 100kW or more.

“Having accounted for a fifth of high-power devices in December 2020, now almost half of the UK’s high-powered chargers are capable of delivering 100kW or well above, enabling anyone driving home for Christmas in an electric car to get there that much quicker.”

The data from Zapmap comes after it reported data at the start of 2023 that suggested the UK's charging infrastructure was struggling to support the country's electric vehicles. Then, there were 37,055 total public chargers, with 6,887 'high power' devices. While the number of high power charging points is clearly increasing, its number of 10,000 still accounts for less than one-fifth of the UK's total EV charging infrastructure, with Zapmap reporting earlier this month that by the end of November 2023 there were 53,029 charging devices across 30,853 locations.

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