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UK needs to step up charging point installation for EV infrastructure

Over two million public electric vehicle charging points will be built by 2017 across Europe, but the UK is behind with how many charging points it expects to install this year.

The UK has built 704 of the 4,700 EV charging points expected to be installed before the end of 2011, according to research from the BBC. The Department of Transport said it plans to install 9,000 points by 2013.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Strategic Analysis of the European EV Charging Station Infrastructure, finds that the EV market will grow from less than 10,000 public charging points across Europe in 2010 to close to two million public charging points by 2017.

This will largely be motivated by local government initiatives, including several incentives, aimed at boosting the expansion of public charging infrastructure for EVs.

Sanketh Gudur, Frost & Sullivan research analyst, said: “European governments are expected to budget about €700 million (£614.2m) over the next seven years for charging stations.

“This will be one of the main drivers behind the exponential growth in public charging infrastructure for EVs.”

The approximate investment over the next seven years is likely to be about €5 billion (£4.4bn) for building EV infrastructure in Europe in relation to charging.

The ratio of the number of cars to charging stations in Europe stands currently at 2.5, dropping to 1.8 by 2017. The rate of growth of public charging infrastructure in Europe is very high, principally due to local government initiatives in different countries.

Slow charging is the most widely available option at present. This method requires six to eight hours for a vehicle to fully charge (80%) and represents an infrastructure problem.

Gudur said: “Manufacturing and installation of a single charging station can be as high as €6,000 (£5,269), implying the need for sizeable investments to equip an entire city with charging stations.

“Moreover, six to eight hours of slow charging means more charging stations are required to ensure availability at all times.”

Fast charging will help resolve this issue. However, at the moment, this method is expensive and not widely available. In addition, it is presumed not to be entirely safe for users to handle.

“The adoption of concepts such as DC-DC fast charging is critical to ensure the dramatic decrease of charging duration,” concludes Gudur. “A DC-DC charging station may eventually produce its own energy supply from renewable sources, offering an added advantage.”

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