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EV charge point locations now outnumber petrol stations, says Nissan

A Chargemaster EV charge point

Nissan has claimed that the emergence of 1,000 more electric vehicle (EV) charge point locations than filling station forecourts in the UK is “a tipping point” in the shift to alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs).

The EV pioneer, which builds its all-electric Leaf hatchback at its Sunderland plant, has correlated data from the Energy Institute and charge point mapping app Zap-Map to establish that there are now 9,300 EV charging locations compared to 8,400 fuel stations.

A statement issued by Nissan today (August 15) said: “In less than a century since Britain’s first fuel station opened – November 1919 at Aldermaston in Berkshire – the number of forecourts has peaked, declined and been overtaken by charging stations designed for battery, not combustion powered cars.

“Almost 80% of UK petrol stations have closed since 1970, whilst the number of electric vehicle charging locations has increased from a few hundred in 2011 (when the Nissan Leaf went on sale) to more than 9,000 in August 2019.”

Nissan’s research attempts to address arguments related to the shortcomings of charge times but fails to take into account the number of pumps at each forecourt compared to an average number of charge points at each EV charging location, however.

Pace of charge point change

Its statement said that more than 1,600 of the UK’s current charging locations provide ‘rapid charging’, and can recharge a typical EV battery to around 80% in “under an hour”.

According to Zap-Map, two new rapid charge devices came online every day in the last month.

Almost all UK motorway service stations have charging stations installed, the majority of which provide a rapid charge option.

BP Chargemaster today (August 15) announced the opening of its first 150kW ultra-fast electric vehicle (EV) chargers on a BP retail site.

The newly-installed facility at BP’s retail site at Cranford, near Heathrow airport, begin operating this week and is the first of 400 ultra-fast chargers at BP sites across the UK to be rolled-out by the end of 2021.

Nissan noted that Transport for London (TfL) has installed more than 1,000 EV charge points in the last year alone, yet supply of conventional fuel within the capital is becoming scarcer, with central London now home to nearly half as many petrol stations per car as the Scottish Highlands and only four remaining within the congestion-charge zone.

One of the country’s oldest forecourts, the Bloomsbury Service Station, which had been in operation since 1926, was closed in 2008.

Kalyana Sivagnanam, managing director, Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd, said: “Many consumers are saying their next car will be electric.

“That means the industry needs to ensure their desires are met with both the car – how far it can go, what technologies it has – and how it interacts with the world around it – where they can charge and how convenient that is for them.

“We’ve moved beyond the early concerns of range anxiety with EVs now exceeding the vast majority of customer’s daily driving needs.

“The next challenge is for charging infrastructure to keep pace with the number of EVs on the road, and that the experience of recharging is as enjoyable and effortless as that of all-electric driving.”

Push for EV product

Earlier this month the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that electric vehicles’ share of new car registrations could double in 2020 after sales almost tripled amid a 4.1% decline in the wider market during in July.

As the volume of new vehicles registered last month fell to 157,198 – the lowest July total since 2012 – sales of pure, battery-powered electric vehicles were up 158.1% to 2,271.

The SMMT believes that the tide is now turning towards greater adoption of the new ultra-low emission technology and said that OEM investment in a growing range of powertrain options meant that there were now more than 80 alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) models available in the UK.

Among the key new arrivals to the pure EV market in 2019 are the Tesla Model 3MG ZS EV, the Peugeot e-208 and the all new Corsa-e, with Honda's Honda e hatchback due early next year.

Despite the trend, Close Brothers Motor Finance’s Dealer Satisfaction Survey in February found that 65% of car retailers said that they were not currently stocking EVs, with 20% citing consumers' perceptions of an insufficient public charge point infrastructure in the UK for their stance.

But Seán Kemple, director of sales at Close Brothers said that “2019 may be remembered as the year when electric vehicles went mainstream", adding that it "looks like we’re months, not years, from the tipping point".

Kemple added: “Education is needed to help customers overcome their concerns about range, charging time and costs, and this sits with the government and manufacturers alike.

"The government should also steer its focus towards developing the infrastructure needed to meet the needs of rising demand, from charging points outside of the big cities to solutions for customers with on-street parking."

Government's EV efforts

Just last month the Government announced that company car drivers choosing a pure electric vehicle (EV) will pay no benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax in 2020/21 following a review which looks set to boost sales of emissions-free cars.

Earlier this week, meanwhile, the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) welcomed a Government decision to double its funding of electric EV charge points in residential streets.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced on Monday morning (August 12) that an additional £2.5 million would be added to fund more than 1,000 new chargepoints on residential streets.

NFDA director, Sue Robinson, said: "Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction, but it is vital that the Government continues to invest to improve the charging infrastructure currently available.

“The findings of our latest Consumer Attitude Survey suggested that ‘access to charging’ still represents a barrier to buying an electric vehicle for 53% of consumers.

“The charging process needs to become as straightforward as possible to give consumers the confidence to own an electric car.

“NFDA will continue to liaise with the Government to support the development of the electric vehicle market through coordinated efforts where industry and sector stakeholders collaborate as in our Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA) accreditation scheme”.


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