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Electric car drivers face postcode lottery for charge points

How many public charging devices does your area have? Electric car drivers in some local authorities have fewer than 10 to use per 100,000 people.

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance expert
2 min read
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Electric car owners in Birmingham – the UK’s second city – have access to eight public charging devices per 100,000 people.

Almost 100 local authorities have fewer than 10 charging devices for public use, figures published by the Department for Transport (DfT) show – with Barnsley in South Yorkshire home to just four.

Reaffirming the Government’s commitment to an all-electric future, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insisted “postcode should play no part” in how easy it is to own an electric vehicle (EV).

Scotland leads the way

DfT analysis of data from electric vehicle charging platform Zap-Map shows there are more than 15,000 charging devices across the UK – with some points able to charge more than one vehicle at a time.

Scotland leads the way nationally with 32 devices per 100,000 people, followed by England (22), Wales (17) and Northern Ireland (16).

Local authorities such as Wirral, Merseyside (five) and Stoke-on-Trent (nine) are among the most poorly supplied.

Grant Shapps said: “It’s good news there are now more charging locations than petrol stations, but the clear gaps in provision are disappointing.

“I urge local councils to take advantage of all the Government support on offer to help ensure drivers in their area don’t miss out.”

Environment spokesman for the Local Government Association, Darren Rodwell, said: “Councils are determined to do more to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions, but a lack of long-term funding is a clear barrier to such investment.

“The next government needs to address this at the earliest opportunity.”

Year-on-year registrations double

Pure electric cars now hold a 1.3% share of the new car market, according to data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The figures show more than 25,000 new pure electric cars were bought between January and September 2019, more than double the total in the first nine months of last year.

But industry experts have warned that demand for pure electric cars will be restricted unless there are significant improvements to the charging infrastructure.

The UK plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars sold from 2040.