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Infrastructure frustrations

I’ve lost track of the number of times people think they’re complaining about electric vehicles when actually they are moaning about the charging network designed to keep the EVs moving.

There are countless issues with the charging infrastructure – from meeting the demands of those EV drivers without off-street parking to ICE-powered vehicles parked in bays that have been specially designated for EVs. However, none of these complaints are down to the vehicle itself. I’m certainly not some EV evangelist who is about to tell you they are perfect – I’m fully aware of the drawbacks and the reservations that potential customers have – but I do think it’s right that there is clarity about the situation because it might help improve matters.

The following pages in this issue of EV Fleet World offer a glimpse at some solutions and alternatives to the current situation. Workplace charging, more efficient units and joined-up thinking on hub locations are three areas covered within this issue, providing plenty of ideas to mull over if readers are contemplating – as they probably should be – the switch to EV. Companies need efficiency, low running costs and reliability from their vehicles. An effective infrastructure – that covers all of the country adequately – would help a lot.

The scenario might seem a long way off, given the number of comments I hear about either a lack of chargers, ones that are broken or ones that do not charge at the advertised speeds. However, what I would say is that the situation has improved and continues to improve. Having run an EV for quite a few months now, I’ve definitely seen a shift in availability of chargers and their performance. Just the other morning I was pleasantly surprised to find a new (to me, at least) bank of 120kW chargers at a service station along the M1, which I made use of in preparation for that afternoon’s journey home.

Other areas of the country aren’t so lucky. For different reasons, I was looking at the charging options in the South West of England and Wales – and it looks like drivers will have to be smart and/or lucky to minimise the disruption of charging. Will the situation get better in time for the big switchover in 2030? It depends if you believe those in charge (no pun intended)…

John Challen Editor