Britain has been set on a course to transition from petrol and diesel cars to electric over the next decade, but progress could be hampered by a lack of charging infrastructure, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has warned.
The concern was highlighted as the SMMT posted its latest data for new car sales, showing that the overall new car market has seen an 11.6 per cent rise in registrations year-on-year, the ninth successive month in which the trend has been upwards.
However, the figures also revealed that the market share of electric vehicles has been slipping, with battery electric vehicles (BEVs) now expected to make up only 18.4 per cent of market share, down from the previously projected 19.7 per cent.
It also expects the 2024 figure to be lower, with BEVs accounting for 22.6 per cent of new car registrations, compared with its previous (January) estimate of 23.3 per cent. The SMMT attributed this to “high energy costs and insufficient charging infrastructure anticipated to soften demand”.
Further to this, the body commented: “With a zero emission vehicle mandate due to come into effect next year, greater and faster investment in infrastructure, and more incentives to encourage purchase are essential to drive consumer confidence and accelerate uptake.”
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said the figures “cast a cloud” over the prospects for meeting zero-carbon motoring goals.
He said to make the transition to electric work, “we need everyone – government, local authorities, energy companies and charging providers – to accelerate their investment in the transition and bolster consumer confidence in making the switch.”
Concerns over a lack of charging infrastructure are nothing new. Most EV drivers do not have a charger installed at home and many will not have the space to do so in future, such as those living on narrow, terraced roads with street parking. That means there will be large-scale demand for public services and some will fear the consequences of inadequate provision.
However, this creates opportunities for any electrician who takes an EV charging course. Part of the equation in establishing more charging points is having sufficient trained workers who can install and maintain them. This means such skills will increasingly be in high demand.
While the SMMT might have delivered some gloomy tidings, there is also positive news about charging infrastructure. As Zap Map reports, Britain’s EV charging industry has just formed a new association bringing 18 charging companies together into one association.
Known as ChargeUK, it has collectively pledged to invest £6 billion into the installation of new charging infrastructure by 2030, adding in tens of thousands of charging points. But this is no distant goal; the body has set itself the ambitious goal of doubling the UK’s charging infrastructure over the course of 2023 alone.
Commenting on the plans, ChargeUK chairman Ian Johnston said: “The formation of ChargeUK is an exciting day and is a demonstration of the electric vehicle charging industry’s growing size and importance to the UK economy.”
The development is also a clear indication that there will be plentiful job opportunities ahead for those qualified in fitting and maintaining EV charging points, providing a great reason to go on a training course.