Report highlights challenges confronting UK's EV infrastructure

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Versinetic, an electric vehicle charging consultancy, has released a report, “Key Barriers to EV Charging Infrastructure Rollout”, in which it highlights the shortages and industry conditions that are threatening the charging infrastructure necessary to support 2030 electric vehicle targets.

The report focuses on charging and reveals how shortages in components, electric vehicle (EV) experts and skills are slowing progress. The consultancy also reveals how the electricity grid, economic market forces, batteries, on-street charging and standards need to adapt to ensure a smooth roll out of the charging infrastructure necessary to support increased electric vehicles on the roads.

In Europe, car travel accounts for around 12% of all the continent’s carbon emissions. To keep in line with the Paris Agreement, emissions from cars and vans will need to drop by more than a third (37.5%) by 2030. To that end, Brussels and individual member states are pouring millions into incentivising car owners to switch to electric. Some countries like the UK are going even further, proposing to ban sales of diesel and petrol vehicles entirely.

Whilst the UK government expects most charging to take place at home, the Climate Change Committee suggests that 1,170 charge points will be required per 100 km of road by 2030. It is estimated that at the current rate of growth only one quarter (76,849) of the public charging points needed to meet expected demand (325,000) will be installed by 2032.

To plug the gap, the government aims to build a globally recognised EV charging network, supported by £1.3 billion funding, covering costs for the strategic road network, homeowners, local authorities, and building owners, alongside regulatory changes.

Commenting Dunstan Power, Director of Versinetic, said, “Even with funding and enthusiasm, as part of the EV community, we have a hard job ahead of us, and only through innovation and collaboration, will we overcome these challenges. In this report, we investigate the key shortcomings that will affect the rollout of EVs and, in particular, charging infrastructure and how the public sector and industry are working together to ensure that we meet the 2030 deadline.”

Key findings include analysis of:

Component shortages: While automakers ramped up electric vehicle production in 2021, especially in Europe and North America, both they and charge post manufacturers have disclosed how the worldwide shortage of computer chips has weighed on results and production. The shortage is primarily a result of coronavirus pandemic-related constraints on supply chains. It could prolong the world's sluggish transition to electric vehicles if chips remain scarce in the coming months.

Lack of EV experts and skills: In the automotive sector, there is a shortage of personnel with the necessary skills to develop, produce and maintain EVs and charging infrastructure. This includes mechanics, skilled technicians to maintain chargers and software programmers and developers to create smart chargers.

Lithium-ion batteries: Demand for lithium has shot up, so materials scientists are working on two big challenges. One is how to cut down on the metals in batteries that are scarce, expensive, or problematic because their mining carries harsh environmental and social costs. Another is to improve battery recycling, so that the valuable metals in spent car batteries can be efficiently reused.

In conclusion Power said, “Each day we are moving further along the path to EVs dominating our roads. However, the pandemic has slowed down progress on several fronts. Currently, shortages in components, and skilled personnel are the tip of the iceberg. Grid challenges, while manageable today, need some consideration to ensure that where possible drivers can charge at home. The revenue model for players in the charging market is also being developed to ensure that public chargers generate profit in some way.

“Predicted lithium shortages will drive innovation in battery recycling while on-street charging plans will be put in place for those unable to charge at home. On top of this standards will need to ensure interoperability.

“The wholescale introduction of EVs is a multifaceted and complex undertaking, and we welcome the challenge.”

Download the report using the link below.