NI is only UK region where EV charge point provision has fallen in past three months

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All UK regions see growth in EV charge point provision, except Northern Ireland, which saw a decrease of 1.1 units per 100,000 people, according to new survey

Charge points in Northern Ireland have decreased by 1.1 units per 100,000 people over the last quarter, according to a new survey.

Volkswagen Financial Services UK’s (VWFS) third instalment of its quarterly EV Tracker Report has found that the expansion of charger provision is far from uniform across the UK and has fallen in Northern Ireland – although there was growth everywhere else.

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While the UK has been on a strong trajectory until now, sitting 151,236 ahead of the exponential adoption, there is a general consensus that this may not be the case for much longer.

This latest edition of the tracker series harnesses data from independent sources, alongside commissioned consumer research of over 1,500 individuals nationwide, to present a picture of the current status, as well as likely progress of EV adoption across the UK.

While EV sales have continued to rise, concerns still remain around the available charging infrastructure and its ability to meet current and future needs.

The European Commission recommends a ratio of one charger for every 10 electric vehicles. That means for the current fleet of just over 900,000 EVs, some 90,000 chargers would be needed. However, while there is overall growth, it is not at a sufficient pace to reach this ratio with approximately 600 new chargers being installed each month, providing a total of 34,860 publicly available chargers at nearly 21,000 locations nationwide at the end of September, according to figures from Zap-Map.

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Northern Ireland stands out as the only UK region not to see growth in the number of available charge points. In fact, Northern Ireland now has fewer charge points that it did three months prior.

While there has been growth in all other regions, the expansion of charger provision is far from uniform across the UK.

The North East leads the charge at 5.4 units per 100,000 people, with London at 5.1 units per 100,000 people.

Other regions including the North West, West Midlands, East Midlands, South West, Yorkshire & the Humber, Scotland and Wales are all still at below three units per 100,000 people.

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Problems around insufficient provision show that charging point availability would now put off 36% of potential EV buyers, compared with just 29% during the previous quarter, according to the survey.

Despite this, VWFS experts warn there could be a halt to progress as a result of the inequality surrounding the UK’s charging infrastructure.

Mike Todd, CEO at Volkswagen Financial Services UK, said: “Firstly, it is gratifying that the overall trend of adoption remains strong and puts the UK on course to meet the net zero target of 2032. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to assume that there is not still a long way to go.

“Perceptions remain about the inadequacy of the public charging infrastructure and these are deterring some from making the switch to an electric vehicle. It is especially concerning that the playing field is not level nationwide when it comes to charging availability – and that any region, in this case Northern Ireland, has seen a reduction in its net quantity of chargers represents a significant disincentive to further take-up there.”