‘Charging anxiety’ may prevent the government from meeting its 2030 target for mass adoption of zero-emission cars

The lack of a widespread electric vehicle charging network in the UK is holding back the mass adoption of zero-emission cars, according to carmakers and industry analysts.

This year is considered crucial for electric vehicles (EVs) going mainstream, but the German manufacturer Volkswagen has warned that a significant increase in the number of available chargers is needed to convince consumers to make the switch from petrol and diesel cars.

The UK government plans to ban sales of new cars with internal combustion engines from 2030, when ministers hope one in every three cars on Britain’s roads will be electric, compared with one in 100 currently.

“The key thing now is to ensure that the charging infrastructure not just increases to meet the current demand, but accelerates to overtake the current demand,” said Alex Smith, the managing director of Volkswagen UK.

“We’ve got to get the charging infrastructure ahead of the game to enable us to progress from the quite specific adoption that we have at the moment into mass adoption. And we’re not there yet.”

Sales of EVs have soared in recent years, and almost doubled between 2020 and 2021, rising from 108,000 to 190,000, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). This meant that Britons bought more electric cars last year than during the previous five years combined.

However, sales have been climbing from relatively low levels, and accounted for just under 12% of sales last year.

“We’re already seeing that divergence between the acceleration rate of EV adoption and the supporting infrastructure that’s in place,” Smith said.

“Pure EV sales increased by 76% last year. The charging infrastructure increased by about a third.”

The UK arm of Volkswagen saw its EV sales double between 2020 and 2021. It has committed to investing €89bn (£74bn) in EVs over the next five years, as it tries to atone for its 2015 Dieselgate scandal. It was found to have rigged the emissions of cars to make them appear cleaner than they were.

Its newest models, the all-electric ID3 and ID4, are manufactured at its plant in the German city of Zwickau – the first factory belonging to a volume carmaker to only build cars powered by lithium-ion batteries.

Extracted in full from: UK electric vehicle charging network is lagging behind, says Volkswagen | Automotive industry | The Guardian