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PWC Charging Ahead report outlines EV uptake ‘pinch points’

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New research has revealed that 60% of drivers have not considered an electric car with more than half stating price and charging infrastructure as the top two barriers to adoption.

The PWC report entitled Charging Ahead suggested that, despite the large investment in charging infrastructure from both Government and private companies, there are a number of pinch points that could affect the growth of Electric Vehicles (EVs).

In the Autumn budget the Government announced a £500 million investment to support charging research and a national charging network, while several large private companies, including Shell and Southern Rail, are planning investments in EV charging operations.

According to the PwC report, the majority of UK drivers (84%) have access to off-street parking at home, with 35% of EV drivers currently charging at home between 5pm and 8pm.

Assuming home charging will become the norm, a step change in the capacity of residential power grid to handle expected peaks in electricity demand is vital.

Steve Jennings, PWC energy and utilities leader, said: “If we are to realise our EV ambitions, we need to see industry and government come together to agree a sustainable and comprehensive road map.

“This will provide further momentum and clarity on issues such as the type of UK-wide charging infrastructure needed, where power network investments are required to meet future demand, the commercial and regulatory framework and the timeline for implementation.  

“Failure to do this might not only mean the lights go out but the wheels could come off our EV goals as well.”

Cities could hold the key to accelerating EV adoption rates as they increasingly focus on policies to address poor air quality. But inadequate levels of public charging infrastructure could curb this ambition.

Only 48% of Londoners and 61% of drivers in Edinburgh have access to off-street parking - and therefore home charging - making public network investment in cities crucial in stimulating future EV adoption.

The report outlines the importance of collecting data on public and private charger usage. This will not only help utilities better manage power flows across the grid but better inform city planners and charging operators on required investment levels and the prime locations for charging points.  

Rich Parkin, PWC automotive industry partner, said: “Future adoption rates of EVs in the UK will be highly contingent on the evolution of both public and private charging infrastructure and education on the economic and environmental benefits.

“This is a complex market challenge and a number of issues may need government intervention such as how the tax regime might adjust as fuel duty revenues wither away.

“Decisive action now could put us in pole position, paving the way for greater private sector innovation across products and services and delivering a much needed confidence boost to drivers and industry alike.” 

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