More than a fifth of electric vehicle charging points are out of action in some UK cities, according to new data.
As EV uptake accelerates around the country, concerns remain around the number and reliability of public charging stations. Now, new figures obtained from mapping service Zap-Map show broad differences in the proportion of working chargers in different locations.
While some towns and cities enjoy faultless charger coverage, in Derry/Londonderry 30% of its chargers were found to not be working - the worst proportion of any city surveyed. Behind it was Worcester, where 23% of all public charging devices were out of action, just ahead of Ipswich with a 22.7% failure rate.
The data, obtained by The Solar Centre, shows that across UK cities excluding London, an average of 10.6% of chargers were identified as out of service in February, equivalent to almost 4,000 faulty devices.
Behind the top three on the list of worst performing locations were Newcastle and York, with 21.4% and 21.2% of chargers out of action respectively.
Completing the top 10, Huddersfield, Southend-on-Sea, Maidstone, Blackburn and Hereford all had fault rates of between 18% and 21%.
At the opposite end of the scale, seven towns and cities recorded no faulty devices, including Newtownabbey in Northern Ireland, East Kilbride in Scotland and Telford, Darlington and Mansfield in England.
Derry/Londonderry’s poor showing comes as a recent report found that 44% of drivers in Northern Ireland were put off buying an EV by concerns around charging. There are just 390 public charging points in Northern Ireland - 1% of the UK’s total. However, the government recently announced £3.27 million funding to upgrade the network across Northern Ireland by replacing unreliable chargers and upgrading fast chargers to rapid ones.
Charger provision is increasing all the time. According to Zap-Map figures, at the end of February there were a total of 38,982 public EV charging stations around the country, an increase of 1,250 in a single month. It also shows that there has been a 33% increase in the number of public charging devices in the last 12 months.
However, the government’s own estimates are that there will need to be at least 300,000 public chargers in place by 2030 to meet growing demand. Earlier this year, Labour claimed that at current rates, the government would miss its target by 20 years.
In February, the government announced an additional £56 million in funding to expand the availability of on-street charging in residential areas with the addition of 2,400 new devices. And, according to the Treasury, since 2020 it has invested £1.6 billion in EV charging via the Rapid Charging Fund and the Local EV Infrastructure Fund.
Brian Davenport, owner and co-founder at The Solar Centre commented: ““Electric cars are eco-friendly, convenient, and have lower running costs, but a lack of available chargers and inconsistency in their ability to work could put drivers off.”
“With 2030 only a mere seven years away, it’s vital local councils are given additional budgets to ensure their EV charging points are working and placed in convenient areas to encourage more drivers to switch from petrol and diesel cars to electric.”