Drivers now have more public places to charge electric cars than they do to fill up with petrol or diesel in a landmark tipping point for motorists.
Research by Nissan has revealed there are now 9,300 EV charging locations across the UK – compared to 8,400 fuel stations.
The crossover has taken place a year before Nissan’s 2016 prediction of August 2020 – a result of the fast-improving infrastructure for electric vehicles in the UK.
Sales of pure EVs are up by 70% this year as buyers take advantage of government grants and perks such a road tax exemption and, from 2020/21, no company car tax.
In fewer than 100 years since Britain’s first fuel station opened at Aldermaston in Berkshire in November 1919, the number of forecourts has peaked, declined and been overtaken by charging stations designed for battery-powered cars.
Almost 80% of UK petrol stations have closed since 1970, while the number of electric vehicle charging locations has increased from a few hundred in 2011, to 9,200 in August 2019.
More than 1,600 of these locations provide ‘rapid charging’, where a typical EV battery can be charged to around 80% in under an hour.
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 and how it interacts with the world around it – where they can charge and how convenient that is for them.
“This includes how far the car can travel, what technologies it has, where it can be charged and how convenient it 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.”
According to Zap-Map, the charging point platform, two new rapid charge devices came online every day in the last month.
Almost all UK motorway service stations have charging stations installed, with the majority providing a rapid charge option.
The introduction of the new Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in April 2019, has led to increasing numbers of London drivers looking to zero-emission solutions for their commuter or commercial transport needs.
Transport for London 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.
There are now just four petrol stations within the Congestion Charge zone – with nearly half as many per car as in the Scottish Highlands.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps has just announced plans to install more than 1,000 public charging points on residential streets.
With most electric vehicle owners only need to charge at home, the UK government has proposed the installation of charging points for EVs in all new housing.
Since the first mass-market electric vehicle – the Nissan LEAF – in 2010, EV technology has continually improved, with the latest models both affordable and practical for the majority of new car buyers.
As a result, the UK is experiencing unprecedented growth in the demand for battery-powered transport.
In 2019, demand for battery electric vehicles is up by 70% overall, with registrations in July up by 158.1% alone, resulting in a 1.4% market share – the highest monthly market share on record.