The Challenges of EV Infrastructure

Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD



2022 could be the year that the electric vehicle makes a real breakthrough. Everything seems to be falling into place with manufacturers all producing new models and the technology being improved considerably. We have ultra-fast charging, models that can drive for 400 miles between charges and both private and public money flowing into EV infrastructure to ensure it has the capacity and geographical spread to support the roll out of EVs around the world. Most drivers don’t travel far from home, people tend to see themselves as travelling more than they actually do, and many have plans to travel further afield if they have time. For that reason, ensuring the infrastructure is in place is critical to a successfully roll-out. The momentum that has been built up so far has to be kept going to reassure people, but that may not be the case in the UK according to a new report published by Versinetic, an EV charging consultancy based in the UK.

The new report, entitled “EV Charging Network rollout: Challenges and Opportunities” looks at the work that needs to be done to get the UK EV infrastructure where it needs to be before the government’s cut-off date for the sale of internal combustion engined vehicles. At its current pace, Versinetic estimates that the UK is on target to build only a quarter of EV charging points that are required to meet the expected demand by 2032. It will take the £1.3 bn investment set aside by the UK government to make the necessary improvements that will close that gap. These improvements include the costs for planned road networks, councils, and building owners. Indeed, a scheme currently run by the UK government to incentivize home owners to install household chargers is due to end on 31st March, 2022 for the majority of homeowners. The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) is a grant that provides a 75% contribution to the cost of one chargepoint and its installation.

The new report looks at all aspects of the challenges facing the UK in implementing the EV charging network, investigating the impact of the pandemic on slowing progression across a number of fronts. It also looks at areas most in need of focus, including grid challenges, with networks facing high pressure as the charging infrastructure expands. The report also looks at the financial implications of EV infrastructure, including ensuring public chargers generate profits.

“Currently, shortages in components and skilled personnel caused by the pandemic are the tip of the iceberg. Grid challenges, while manageable today, need some consideration to ensure that where possible drivers can charge at home,” said Dunstan Power, Director of Versinetic. He continued, “Predicted lithium shortages will drive innovation in battery recycling while on-street charging plans will be put in place for those unable to charge at home. The wholescale introduction of EVs is a multifaceted and complex undertaking”.