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Overview of EV charging infrastructure in the UK



Surface transport significantly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, accounting for approximately 26% of total emissions. To stay on track to meet its net zero by 2050 target, the UK must achieve a 70% reduction in surface transport emissions by 2035.

One of the primary strategies to achieve these reductions is the widespread adoption of zero-emission vehicles, specifically electric vehicles (EVs). Supported by legislation such as the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate, which requires 80% of new car and 70% of new van sales to be zero-emission by 2030, EV uptake is increasing and EVs are expected to comprise 20% of all vehicles on UK roads by 2030.


However, the availability and affordability of EVs are only part of the EV adoption story. Public concern over the availability and convenience of EV charging infrastructure is a major barrier to EV adoption and therefore a critical variable to ensuring the UK reaches its EV and decarbonization targets.


Developing an extensive EV charging network will not only help the UK meet its environmental objectives but also unlock economic opportunities and benefits for investors, infrastructure developers and EV drivers. 


This blog is part 1 of our series, where we will outline the current state and future projections of EV charging infrastructure in the UK.


1. EV charging infrastructure overview


1.1 EV charging types


Unlike filling a car at a petrol station, EV charging stations come in various car plug types, EV connector types and charging speeds. Understanding these variations is vital for infrastructure development that meets diverse market needs. The table below summarizes the range of charging speeds, approximate charging times for an average EV, and the number of chargers deployed in the UK. While rapid and ultra-rapid chargers offer the fastest charging speeds, these makeup only 20% of the EV charging market today.

Type

Speed

Approx. charging time for Avg EV

No of chargers (2024)

Slow

3 – 7kW

10-23 hours

36,000+

Fast

8 – 49 kW

3-10 hours

13,000+

Rapid

50 – 149 kW

0.7-1.4 hours

6,900+

Ultra Rapid

>150 kW

0.5-0.7 hours

4,900+


1.2 Public EV charging landscape


A robust network of public EV chargers, referring to all chargers available to the general public, is key to addressing public concern over availability and convenience.  The market for public EV chargers in the UK is diverse; key players such as BP Pulse, Ionity, and ChargePlace Scotland manage extensive networks, offering a range of charging solutions from rapid chargers on motorways to destination chargers at retail centres and hotels, giving drivers choices on the go[1].


To better understand the public charging market, the table below categorizes the different types of public EV charging options, typical locations, and common uses.

Charging options

Charging speed

Location

Typical use

En route charging

Rapid to ultra-rapid

(>50kW – >150kW)

High-traffic roads (e.g., motorways and strategic road networks)

Quick charging during long-distance travel

Destination charging

Slow to fast (7kW – 50kW)

Retail centres, restaurants, leisure spots, car parks, hotels

Charging while visiting a destination: overnight stays, workplace charging, leisure

Public on-street charging

Slow to fast (3kW - 22kW)

Residential streets, lampposts, dedicated EV bays, pop-up points

Publicly available: for residents without off-street parking

Hub charging

Rapid and ultra-rapid (>50kW – 150kW)

Dedicated purpose-built EV charging sites

Long-distance travellers, commercial fleets, public charging

2. EV charging infrastructure: current state and future predictions


2.1 Status of public charging infrastructure today


Currently, the UK hosts over 61,200 charging points across more than 32,600 locations, already surpassing the number of traditional petrol stations.

Greater London has the greatest number of EV charging points at 19,834, followed by the South East with 7,309, and Scotland with 5,416[2].


2.2 Expansion and growth of charging networks


2.2.1 Installation and growth trends:


Early 2024 marked a significant uptick in installations, with 6,000 new charging points added between January and April, and a monthly installation rate of over 1,900 devices—a 37% increase from 2023. Forecasts from Zap-Map suggest that the total number of chargers in the UK is expected to exceed 100,000 by August 2025[3], highlighting the rapid development of EV infrastructure (see Figure 1).


Figure 1: UK EV charge points


2.2.2 Rapid and Ultra-rapid charging networks:


This growth is complemented by the substantial expansion of the UK's rapid and ultra-rapid EV charging infrastructure, supported by both private and public sector investment. By early 2024, the network has seen a marked increase in the number of devices and locations, with several key players emerging as leaders. InstaVolt leads with 1,552 chargers strategically located along major roadways and commercial areas, followed by Tesla with 1,479 and bp pulse with 1,278. Figure 4 below illustrates the market shares of the top eight networks for rapid and ultra-rapid charging devices.


Despite this impressive expansion, challenges remain. The geographical distribution of these chargers is uneven, and the high costs associated with installation and maintenance continue to pose significant obstacles.


Figure 2: UK Network market share of ultra-rapid devices


2.3 Future outlook and growth projections


2.3.1 Short to Mid-Term projections (2020-2030)


From 2020 to 2030, the UK is focused on significantly expanding its EV charging infrastructure to meet the growing demand from electric vehicle owners. The plan includes establishing 300,000 public EV charging stations by 2030. Figure 3 provides a visual comparison of the increase in EV vehicles alongside the corresponding growth in EV charging facilities.


Figure 3: UK BEV and Charging Points Growth (2020 - 2030)


By 2030, rapid charging points are projected to increase 22-fold, fast chargers 13-fold, and slow chargers seven-fold from 2020 levels. This growth is crucial to meet the rising demand for electric vehicles. Despite this, ultra-rapid chargers, currently totalling 4,988, will remain a smaller segment of the market [4] (see Figure 2).  To support this expansion, companies like BP and Shell are planning extensive network enhancements, including the installation of ultra-rapid chargers capable of up to 350 kW, significantly reducing charging times and improving user convenience.

Figure 4: A comparative overview of charger types (2020 - 2030)


2.3.2 Long-term projections (2030 -2040)


By 2040, projections indicate that over 1 million public charging points will be required to support an estimated 30 million electric vehicles on UK roads. This expansion focuses not only on increasing quantity but also on enhancing the quality and efficiency of the infrastructure. Crucially, integrating renewable energy sources will reduce environmental impact and enhance grid stability through smart charging and energy storage solutions. As this network expands, it will attract investments, foster innovation, and strengthen consumer confidence in EV technology.  


While the challenges ahead are significant, the opportunities are equally substantial. Stakeholders who are deeply familiar with these dynamics will be well-positioned to thrive in the evolving EV landscape. 


Stay tuned for our next blog, where we will delve into the specific challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the UK's EV charging infrastructure. 


 


by Narel Gimenes Ferreira

Associate at Ampersand Partners






by Brooke Behrenfeld

Consultant at Ampersand Partners






by Rabeea Khan

Analyst at Ampersand Partners




References

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