Electric cars hit by north-south charging divide


Electric cars hit by north-south divide with London boasting nearly a third of all charging points

Britain’s electric car revolution is being held back by a lack of vital infrastructure, with London boasting nearly a third of all charging points.

Of the 36,752 public charging points available in the UK, 11,515 or just over 31 per cent were in Greater London compared to 1,106 in the North East, latest figures show.

And one central London borough has more charging points than six of Britain’s largest regional cities combined.

Of the 36,752 public charging points available in the UK, 11,515 or just over 31% were in Greater London compared to 1,106 in the North East, latest figures show

Westminster, with nearly 1,500 devices, has more than the 1,412 available across Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham.

As the UK aims to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, the Government wants to have 300,000 public charging devices by the end of the decade.

The Policy Exchange think-tank estimated that the UK will need to install 35,000 chargers a year – up from 7,000 – to meet such a target.

But fears are mounting that this target will be missed as attention focuses on London and the well-off at the expense of the rest of the country.

Alex Simakov, senior fellow at Policy Exchange, warned that the ‘greater risk’ is a split market, ‘with extensive charging connections in our largest cities while rural areas are left behind’.

Sarah Lee, director of policy at the Countryside Alliance, said: ‘While the impression from a central London perspective might be that the rest of the country is ready to move over to electric, the reality in the countryside is far from that because of a lack of charging points.’ 

Meanwhile, Tory MP Jake Berry, a former party chairman, called on the Government to make ‘policy for the nation, not just SW1’.

He recently asked: ‘Charging your £100,000 Tesla is fine in your £500,000 house with a drive in Surrey. Can someone let me know how you do that on a row of terraced houses up north?’

But Ian Plummer, commercial director of Auto Trader, said the stark disparity in charging points was more about a wealth divide than a ‘North vs South’ split.

He said: ‘Even though electric vehicle drivers can save £124 in running costs per 1,000 miles, the barrier remains high upfront costs and a lack of affordable models compared to petrol or diesel cars, so there is much higher take-up in more affluent areas.’

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