UK’s EV charging speeds lag behind rest of Europe

The UK has sluggish electric vehicle (EV) charging speeds compared with the rest of Europe, research has found.

Surveying 508 fully electric car and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) drivers, the energy research and consulting company Delta-ee found that the speed of EV charging is significantly lower in the UK than in other European countries like France, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway.

The survey found that only one-fifth of UK EV drivers have access to the fastest rate of home charging of 22kW or higher – compared to three-quarters of German drivers.

Delta-EE put this down to the UK’s largely single-phase residential electricity supply, saying it could hinder widespread take-up of EVs in the coming years.

Alexander Lewis-Jones, EVs and electricity product manager at Delta-ee, said: ‘Residential electricity supply on the continent lends itself much better to high-power uses such as fast home EV charging than in the UK. Our reliance on single-phase supply could hold us back in the future.

‘Twelve-hour overnight charges are one thing, but as the EV transition gathers pace and battery sizes grow – and we potentially pivot to electrified heating too – this may become a cause for regret.’

An electric car charging in Westminster. Research by Delta-ee has found that while the UK’s EV charging speed lags behind the rest of Europe, there is cause for optimism in the rest of the UK’s EV charging infrastructure.

Despite this, the firm’s research found that the UK has the lowest proportion of EV drivers charging their cars using regular plug sockets (22%) and the highest proportion using dedicated charging points (73%) – in Germany, only half of EV drivers use charging points.

The UK also has the least EV drivers unable to charge at home, with 2% of respondents reporting this problem compared to around 5% in the other countries studied.

Lewis-Jones said this showed the success of the UK’s grant scheme for home charging points, as well as the country’s otherwise dependable public EV infrastructure.

Lewis-Jones added: ‘The reality is drivers won’t go electric until the public infrastructure is in place, but if we get it right, it could also compensate for any shortcomings in UK home-charging.’

He said the data showed if the UK is serious about being a ‘leader’ in the transition to EVs, the UK will need to ‘invest strategically’ in connecting its EV infrastructure.

In related news, it was revealed today (July 4) that sales of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) fell by 50% in June.

The Society of Motor Traders and Manufacturers (SMMT) said this is due to ‘confusing policies and the premature removal of purchase incentives’ for plug-in hybrids.

However, sales of low emission vehicles were boosted by a 64% growth in demand for battery electric cars, with 2,461 sold during the last month.

Image credit: Alan Trotter at Flickr