Electric vehicle sales are booming in the U.K. but the country’s charging network isn’t up to the task.
Rather, Britain’s EV charging network is in poor condition, with too few chargers and too many of those that are available broken or faulty, reveals an investigation by Channel 4’s current affairs program Dispatches.
Another big reveal: some hybrid-electric vehicles are worse than diesel when it comes to releasing carcinogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like benzene and formaldehyde, especially during cold starts.
Dispatches used an EV driver app called Zap-Map to check out available charging stations and found some serious short circuits, including 10% of rapid chargers (those needed for long journeys) out of service, 3% of ultra-rapid chargers faulty, and 840 slow chargers out of service, rendering more than 5% of all the available units “unusable”.
The stations, roughly 26,000 in total, are funded by the government in some cases, but the majority of them are sponsored by one of 60 private companies. Further suggestive of disconnect and confusion: while the number of EVs on the road increased 60% last year, Dispatches found, the number of charging points increased by approximately 40%.
“We want to make charging an electric vehicle as easy and accessible as refuelling a petrol or diesel car,” the Department for Transport said in response to the report. “That’s why the Government has just committed £620 million to support the transition to electric vehicles on top of the £1.9 billion from Spending Review 2020.”
The DfT added that while “hybrid cars and vans have an important role to play to achieve our phase-out date,” these vehicles “will only be allowed to be sold between 2030 and 2035 if they deliver significant zero-emission capability.” And “by 2035 all new cars and vans will be zero-emission at the tailpipe.”