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EV Charging Infrastructure: Minimising the environmental impact

EVs are a green technology. EV chargers should be too. Considering the benefits of an EV driving nation, rolling out the enabling charging infrastructure is an environmental no-brainer. But charging infrastructure itself also adds to overall emissions. The greener the infrastructure, therefore, the quicker the payback. Published May 2020.

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EV Charging Infrastructure: Minimising the environmental impact

EVs are a green technology. EV chargers should be too. Considering the benefits of an EV driving nation, rolling out the enabling charging infrastructure is an environmental no-brainer. But charging infrastructure itself also adds to overall emissions. The greener the infrastructure, therefore, the quicker the payback. Published May 2020.

EVs don't produce emissions whilst being driven, but they are not emissions-free. Some emissions are generated in order to manufacture them, power them, and produce the infrastructure to charge them.

Fortunately, in countries like Britain, where much energy generation comes from renewables, EVs produce far less emissions per km than internal combustion engine (ICE) equivalents. In these markets it then takes 2-4 years to offset battery manufacture emissions, known as ‘payback’. Over time the electricity mix gets cleaner and payback falls, whereas ICE vehicles offer little room for efficiency improvements.

Considering the benefits of an EV driving nation, rolling out the enabling charging infrastructure is an environmental no-brainer. But charging infrastructure itself also adds to overall emissions. The greener the infrastructure, therefore, the quicker the payback. So far, this has received little attention.

As we ramp up charge points from thousands to millions, we must look at minimising their environmental impact, otherwise we may face backlash against a supposedly green industry.

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Electric Vehicles: Moving from early adopters to mainstream buyers

We have commissioned this report to highlight the current inadequacy of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and to provide insight into what future charging infrastructure should look like to maximise...

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Electric Vehicles: Moving from early adopters to mainstream buyers

We have commissioned this report to highlight the current inadequacy of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and to provide insight into what future charging infrastructure should look like to maximise electric vehicle uptake. Published March 2020.

  • For current EVs drivers 80% of charging is done at home
  • 64% do the majority of their EV charging overnight
  • 67% of existing EV drivers would not have bought an EV if they did not have access to overnight charging
  • Of those who do not own EVs, 40% said they do not have somewhere to park it overnight where they could charge it
  • 89% said they would be encouraged to make their next car purchase an EV if they were offered access to a space where they could charge.

For EVs to become mainstream, people need to feel that the switch will be cheaper and more convenient, which means deployment of charging infrastructure that is aligned to the reality of their existing routines. Creating an EV charging infrastructure that enables the majority of the UK to move to electric vehicles in 15 years needs bold thinking and significant investment.

Critically, it means moving from piecemeal deployment of charging stations that no one really wants, to a strategic infrastructure plan directly aligned to user needs.

Chris Pateman-Jones CEO