Electric Vehicle Charging Points Now Outnumber Petrol Stations

Yes, you read that right! As of the 28th May 2019, there are now more EV charging locations in the UK than there are petrol stations.

Thanks to new data published by Zap-Map, there are now over 8,500 public charging locations across the UK with more than 13,600 charging points, compared to the 8,400 petrol stations seen at the end of April 2019.


This comes as the result of a 59% increase in the amount of electric vehicle charging points bolstering the EV infrastructure over the last 12 months alone. Interestingly, we’re also seeing the continued decommissioning of petrol stations as combustion engines become more fuel efficient – we actually have 80% less stations than there were in 1970.

While the majority of the EV charging points are in London (26%), there’s over 1,000 locations across all areas of the UK except Northern Ireland (488) and Wales (720) with Scotland and the South East leading the charge with over 3,000 locations each while the South West comes in just short of 1,900.

EV Charge Points Adoption is Ahead of Schedule

This achievement is over a year ahead of schedule, with a prediction by automotive-giant, Nissan made in 2016 stating that this would happen by the summer of 2020.

Marry this with the forecasts from Chargemaster, the UK’s provider of EV charging infrastructure, who predict that one in four new cars will be electric by 2025, with over one million electric cars in the UK by 2022. The forecasts suggest that on the current trajectory, it’s likely that all cars on UK roads will be electric by 2040.

That’s a figure which is hugely supported by AutoTrader’s research, which found that 71% of car owners said they’d consider buying an electric vehicle as their next car – a huge jump from the 25% answering the same in 2017.

Could This End Range Anxiety?

Considering that one of the biggest worries for many car-buyers considering an electric vehicle is range, this new revelation should go a long way in helping to reduce that anxiety. Thanks to this quickly expanding network, the patchy nature of EV charge points is being addressed, making it much more feasible for electric vehicles to take on longer journeys without the worry of being able to charge them upon arrival or during the drive.

Earlier this year the BBC’s Shared Data Unit looked at the data provided by the Open Charge Map, which found that out of 385 authorities, only three had 100 or more charging locations. Since this information was released, Zap Map figures show an additional 1,000 points have been added to the network.

"The public and private sectors are now investing heavily in the UK's EV charging infrastructure to ensure that there are sufficient charging points to support the growing electric fleet," said Ben Lane, co-founder and CTO at Zap-Map.

"This month's milestone reveals the rapid pace of change already underway as the age of the combustion engine gives way to an all-electric era with vehicles offering both zero-emissions and a better driving experience."

EV is a Completely Different Way of Fuelling Than Fossil Fuels

Even with this vast network growth it’s worth noting that electric vehicles typically aren’t fuelled in the same way as a combustion engine. In fact, according to the Department of Transport, 80% of charging takes place at home – completely changing the approach to driving.

While this is brilliant for people with off-street parking, more needs to be done for those who haven’t got this facility. There are currently several options being trialled, for example on-street charging points – typically lamppost charging – to allow for EVs to be charged in residential areas.

Another thing we’re likely to see is an uptake in swappable batteries – similar to the systems being utilised in the light electric vehicle industry. This option allows you to trade depleted batteries for fully charged ones – quick and effective, essentially making it the holy grail for electric vehicles. Many scooter networks are already utilising this sort of technology, so with trickle down technology and further innovation it’s likely that we’ll see this technology progress.

This blog comes from the ‘Not the Norm’ section of our May 2019 Energy Markets Report, to get regular features like this along with a detailed analysis of the previous month’s energy markets sign up here:

NewsJoe Hickman