Work supports roll out of electric vehicle public charging points to meet huge, predicted growth in demand

August 22nd 2023

Work to ensure electric vehicle drivers have convenient access to charging points across eastern and central England is being supported by new data which identifies the best locations for EV infrastructure.

The mapping tool and report from Transport East and England’s Economic Heartland, two of England’s sub-national transport bodies (STBs), suggests that more than 22,000 public charging points are required for their areas in the coming years to support the growing EV market: a six-fold increase in charging points by as early as 2025.

In just three years it is predicted there could be more than half a million EVs in an area that includes East Anglia, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Swindon, up from around 190,000 on the road today.

And with the government committing to only zero emission at the tailpipe cars being sold by 2035, the mapping tool shows the areas where EV take up is likely to be highest and fastest.

Local authorities are committed to meeting regional and national net-zero ambitions, while investment government and the private sector has already put into EV charging has made a significant difference. However, the report shows that momentum must be maintained to ensure infrastructure keeps pace with the predicted levels of electric vehicles on our roads.

Local authorities are responsible for developing EV strategies for their area. The mapping tool will help them understand local EV usage, plan and bid for investment, work more effectively with charge point operators and monitor the roll-out of new charging infrastructure.

Using government data from early 2022 to provide baseline figures, the study projects a lower and higher uptake of EVs, and the number of charging points required to support these two scenarios:

  • In Transport East’s region 1.3% (30,200) of 2.4 million of owned cars are EV. In England’s Economic Heartland, 4% (155,000) of 3.8 million owned cars are EV.
  • By 2025 it is forecast that over 500,000 EVs will be owned across both regions needing over 22,400 public charging points.
  • By 2040 there could be over 5m EVs across both regions– which would require over 116,000 public charging points.

The reports and dashboard tool also highlight:

  • The availability of public charging points (as opposed to charge points at home or at a place of work) is a key factor for people when considering whether to buy an EV.
  • There are opportunities for local authorities to work with the private sector to unlock the potential for EV charge points, for example in local authority owned car parks, and generate income.
  • There is a need to make sure EV charging infrastructure is balanced across rural, urban and high traffic routes and make sure rural areas do not miss out because they are less commercially attractive.

Transport East and England’s Economic Heartland will be sharing results of the study widely to drive data-led decisions, foster partnerships between the public and private sectors and accelerate the installation of new EV charging infrastructure.

Cllr Liz Leffman, Interim Chair of England’s Economic Heartland, said:

“Dealing with climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing our country and emissions from transport remain a significant threat both to the planet and people’s health. In combination with modal shift to public transport and active travel, enabling people and businesses to make the switch to electric vehicles is fundamental to our attempts to reach net zero.

“If we are to achieve anything near the pace of change required, potential barriers to operating an electric vehicle – particularly in more rural areas – must be removed as quickly as possible. That’s why this tool to pinpoint the best locations for public charging points so they are easily accessible in both urban and rural locations is so important.”

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chair of Transport East, said;

“Within the Transport East region, transport is responsible for 42% of the region’s carbon emissions which is well above the national average of 28%. Areas of our region are also highly car dependent. Alongside investment in public transport, walking and cycling, if we are to reach our net zero targets, then we need to accelerate the roll out of EV chargers.”

“These reports and tool provide local authorities with valuable insight into future EV usage and how we can work more effectively with industry to create a thriving greener, cleaner region. We call on all those involved in planning, delivering and funding EV charging infrastructure to use these new tools to work more collaboratively and speed delivery.”

View the full report here