We have recently discussed some of the UK cities that are leading the way when it comes to investment in electric infrastructure. As has all too often been the case, investment in recent years has become disproportionately centred around major cities, specifically London and the South East. However, some recent investment announcements may be a sign that this is changing.
Chris Lewis, a senior associate at Burges Salmon, a prominent UK law firm that specialises in environmental cases, has called the current EV charging situation a ‘postcode lottery’ and claims that investment must be rolled out much more evenly in order to facilitate further uptake. Speaking at the recent Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum policy conference, Lewis explained that ‘access to charging infrastructure can vary greatly depending on where you live in the UK.’
A recent Uswitch study into the UK electric vehicle market highlighted areas of the UK with major gaps in the charging infrastructure. For example, there are around 22.9 electric vehicles per charge point in Bristol compared to 268 in Stoke-on-Trent. In line with our recent research, cities like Southampton and Edinburgh also demonstrate a high level of EV infrastructure but this does not disseminate into all areas of the UK, urban or rural. With range anxiety proving to be a major stumbling block in the uptake of electric travel, patching up these ‘dark spots’ in the UK seems like an obvious solution.
That said, there are some exciting new commercial projects being rolled out in the UK that indicate more even investment is on the horizon. Firstly, the newly formed Electrified Powertrain Technology Group, will focus on innovation and expansion of electric vehicle technology in the North East of England. Chairman, Ryan Maughan, sees the project as ‘an opportunity to promote the region as an innovative and forward-thinking environment and to also leverage collaborative working.’ The project will team up with Newcastle University to create a new £30 million network of industrial centres to support research and development into power electronics, electric machinery and electric travel. This will ultimately form part of the wider £80 million Driving the Electric Revolution Programme.
Secondly, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has made no secret of his desire to invest in electric infrastructure in the UK and the latest rumours suggest he intends to build a new supersized electric car factory. While the site is still not confirmed, it is likely to be in the South West of England, with Somerset one possible option. The development will be spearheaded by the Department for International Trade (DIT) and could take up a mammoth site of around 4 million square feet. The site will feature a vehicle research, development and manufacturing gigafactory of which Tesla are likely to take up a large space, in line with their 2019 manifesto. Scientists suggest that the UK will need one Gigafactory by 2022, two by 2025 and eight by 2040 to meet EV and battery demand. This suggests there is scope for extensive investment in infrastructure across the UK. We cannot wait to see what the future holds.
If you are an individual, company owner or fleet manager interested in switching to electric travel and would like to discuss your own charging infrastructure (maybe not quite the size of a gigafactory) please get in touch. A member of our team would be happy to discuss this in more detail and answer any questions that you have. Call us on 0141 280 8890 or drop us an email at [email protected]