The electric car (EV) revolution is well underway in the UK. Recent vehicle registration data reveals there are now over 660,00 battery operated and plug-in vehicles on our roads. (source)
And with the majority of EV drivers opting to carry out most of their charging from home – questions are beginning to arise about EV charging solutions for those with no driveway. Specifically – the 6.6 million households in the UK who do not have access to off-street parking, making up nearly 25% of households.
Diving deeper into vehicle ownership and how many people will be affected, Small99 calculated that not being able to charge will affect roughly a third of the population, with the other two-thirds more likely to have access to off-road charging.
Public EV charging stations in the UK
Naturally, the most obvious solution for those without driveway parking, is to charge on the public network instead.
According to the latest Zap Map data there are now over 26,500 public charging points across the country. Growth is promising, and since 2015, the number of public chargers has grown by 44% per year (source)
Rapid devices have increased at a particularly high rate, with an average annual increase of 62%. Broken down by speed, the network consists of:
1211 ultra-rapid chargers
3750 rapid chargers
15195 fast chargers
6233 slow chargers
Availability does differ significantly depending on where you live in the country however. And at present, Greater London has the most charging points by far (over 30% of total) followed by the South-East (13.1%) and then Scotland (10.3%). In contrast, the Channel Islands have the lowest number available (0.2%), followed by the Isle of Man (0.3%) and Northern Ireland (1.3%).
Many local authorities are yet to even apply for government funding via the On-Street Residential Charge Scheme. And implementation of infrastructure has very much been market led to date, with individual charging networks and private businesses choosing where to install charge points.
Facilitating public EV charging growth
Public EV charging station locations & speeds
To facilitate inclusive, widespread EV adoption, a cohesive effort from both local authorities and businesses alike is needed. We will need to see electric charge points installed in publicly accessible locations – ideally in spots where drivers can occupy themselves elsewhere while their vehicle charges. Workplaces, residential areas (particularly those with a lack of off-street parking), council owned car parks, and retail parks, are all ideal spots for drivers to park up and charge.
At present, what we are witnessing is a huge investment in the development of rapid charging infrastructure. But it is mainly happening in out-of-town locations, catering to those charging on longer journeys. And once you move further into the cities, the most common type of chargers are fast AC chargers.
There will likely always be a need for fast chargers, for those wishing to charge on the street overnight, when they aren’t in a rush.
But, as the average battery range of EVs increases, there will no doubt be a switch to a focus on the range added per X minutes of charging time. And there’s going to be a need for the flexibility and convenience of rapid and ultra-rapid charging in the city, particularly for those without driveway access.
Workplace EV charging
Naturally, given that many of us spend large periods of time during the week at a physical workplace, they are an ideal charging point location for those without driveaway access.
Businesses can claim a workplace EV charging grant (OZEV) entitling them to £350 off per charge point socket up to a total of 40 sockets. And there’s a whole host of added benefits of providing EV charging for employees, including increased retention and talent attraction.
In support of such efforts, Mer recently signed an agreement with workspace owner Regus to provide charging to employees and guests of Regus.
However, with the UK shifting towards remote working since Covid-19, this may not be the ideal solution it once was for those without driveway charge point access.
Mer public rapid EV charge point
Types of public EV charging
Alongside the growth of public charging networks, we’re witnessing lots of technological innovation around how we charge – such as taking advantage of existing energy sources in unique ways and changing the way we get the energy into the vehicle altogether. Such options could make life easier for EV owners without driveways in the near future.
Making use of existing infrastructure:
Charger-sharing: a possible charging option for EV owners without a driveway is to make use of someone else’s charger – perhaps a friend, family member, or a neighbour. And there are already a number of services – such as CoCharger and PlugShare – that enable drivers with home chargers to share their energy with others – even charging a small fee if they wish. However, in many instances, this option is not practicable for either the driver or the host.
Lamp-post charging: this is an evolving technology taking advantage of the spare electrical capacity in lamp posts. Efforts to switch to lower energy LED lighting in lamp posts has reduced their overall power consumption, leaving spare capacity that multiple innovative charging businesses have taken advantage of – installing publicly accessible chargers on the lamp posts themselves.
Adapting the way we charge:
Rapid/ultra-rapid hubs: We mentioned there is a need for more rapid and ultra-rapid charging stations in cities. The faster speeds that rapid and ultra-rapid charger provide, give flexibility and convenience for those who can’t charge at home. Urban charging hubs can overcome the challenge of scalability for residential off-street charging.
Wireless kerbside charging: as the name suggests – this technology doesn’t require the driver to plug-in to charge. Instead, the charging technology is installed underground and drivers can park on top of it to charge via an electromagnetic field. Older EVs need to be adjusted, but newer models are already set-up to take advantage of this option. Wireless charging holds huge potential for a diverse range of needs but will take time to become mainstream.
Pop-up chargers: pop-up chargers aim to tackle the concern around public space being taken up by chargers. They simply pop back underground when not in use.
Overhead charging: Holland-based company ChargeArm has developed a construct that stands above a footpath – connecting a property to any type of home-charging point on the market, without causing an obstruction for pedestrians. The unique set-up is not yet available in the UK but appears promising with early findings showing it reduces charger wear, meaning they can last ten times longer.
In-built guidance and apps are making it easier to locate charge points
Developments to vehicles themselves are gradually making it easier to own an EV. Many models now have in-built charging station guidance.
App developments are making the process easier too. ZapMap has long been a reliable source for most EV drivers in locating a charge point. And the service has now integrated with Apple CarPlay to offer a subscription service beyond their standard free charger search, plan and pay functionality. ZapMap Plus will enable drivers to filter by new charge points, multiple locations, user ratings, detailed location types, view new chargers installed in the last 30 days, save more user filters and route plans, and to add multiple vehicles. And a new Premium option will enable drivers to see the app on any in-car dashboard and find themselves charge points, see live charge point status, and access route plans on the move.
Google Maps is also now set-up to make EV drivers’ lives easier. Exactly what you’ll have access to will depend on the car model, but features include estimated battery level on arrival at the destination you’ve typed into Maps. Charging Assistance is also available – where charging stations are mapped on your route for you. And you’re able to carry out a search for charging stations, filtering your results by charger types, payment networks and charging speeds. Drivers can add in charging stations to their route and even view a recommended minimum charging time.
Supporting drivers without driveways
It’s clear there’s lots in the pipeline to make it easier for EV drivers to locate, charge and pay on the public network. But the pace of change is currently not fast enough to keep up with the rate of EV purchase growth and support those without driveway charging. There needs to be a combined effort from public and private bodies alike to support the transition.
Share this article
We recently compiled a list of eleven core areas local authorities should get to grips with before starting an EV charging infrastructure project.
EV Charging Checklist
Whether you’re part of a team choosing to procure charging installation through an existing framework, running your own tender or exploring options, this checklist will help you identify what you need to know before stepping into EV charging infrastructure project.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.