The UK’s EV infrastructure needs are paving the way for specialist manufacturers

As the UK’s electric vehicles market has grown, so too have opportunities for manufacturers delivering the infrastructure required to support it.

The National Grid is forecasting there will be 10 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the roads by 2030, when the ban on new petrol and diesel cars comes in.

Consumer appetite for EVs is growing too as more and more types come onto the market, meeting different budgets and uses. There was a 60% increase in electric car registrations in the UK in 2021 alone.

The challenge now is for the infrastructure needed to keep pace. Critical to this will be a comprehensive network of charge points – the UK’s existing network will need to grow tenfold.

In its Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy, the UK government set an ambitious target for 300,000 public EV chargers by 2030.

As of November 2022, there were just over 36,700 public charge points across 21,000 locations in the UK, according to Zap-Map – 33% more than in 2021.

Greater London has more than 11,000 of these – more than any other European city – but Transport for London predicts the capital will need up to 60,000 by 2030.

There are a further 400,000 charge points across private homes and workplaces. But shared or public charge points will be crucial to the scale-up, as around 40% of homes do not have off-street parking facilities.

All of this will require up to £18bn of investment, according to Deloitte.

The network will also need to be comprehensive, consistent, and flexible to meet different drivers’ needs, budgets and vehicle types.

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Electric vehicles charge points – types and uses

EV charge points are typically classified by speed, ranging from slow (3-6kW), to fast (7-22kW), to rapid (25-99kW) and ultra-rapid (100kW+), all supporting a range of electric vehicle types depending on battery capacity.

Less common, but offering wider benefits for drivers, are bidirectional chargers.

Using on-site generated energy, usually through photovoltaic (PV) panels, bidirectional chargers allow homeowners or occupiers to charge cars overnight using cheaper energy, and sell unused energy back to the grid.

This vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology currently calls for significant up-front investment from drivers, at up to £6,000 per charger, but can be offset by the earning potential of selling power back into the grid. Prices for these chargers are expected to come down by as much as 60% though, as hardware costs have dropped and new technologies have been introduced.

In the case of bidirectional chargers, it will be EV manufacturers needing to keep pace with charger manufacturers, since only a handful of existing electric vehicles (Japanese models) are capable of V2G charging.

Electric vehicles charge points – market opportunities

Across Europe, more than 100 businesses are already catering specifically to developing home-based chargers for electric vehicles, according to Reuters. These range from small start-ups to major industrial businesses.

New or updated regulations regarding the charge points – covering cybersecurity and smart-charging capabilities – are expected to see these numbers rise further too.

The draw to this market is more than just the wider environmental benefits. With home charge points selling for around £1,000 per unit, there are huge financial incentives too.

The spoils will be for the manufacturers developing dynamic charge points, with ‘smart’ software or bidirectional charging. In the UK in particular, smart capabilities are key to fulfilling new regulatory requirements.

Since summer 2022, new legislation rules that all UK home EV chargers must, by default, charge outside of peak hours for energy usage. To fulfil this regulation and the need for staggered starts to not overload the grid requires sophisticated software. Further regulations come into play from December 2022 surrounding cybersecurity and tamper protection, to protect users.

The opportunities are also spread across different segments, according to Deloitte. EV drivers will need a range of charge points available, including residential, around town, en route, and fleet usage options.

Residential charge points power 90% of EVs currently, but the en-route options will see the biggest growth opportunities in the coming years, Deloitte has found. These will require versatile and sophisticated chargers.

Opportunities will continue once this initial infrastructure is in place too, to maintain and update the network. Charge points typically last for around eight years to keep pace with technological advancements and hardware or software upgrades.

Capitalise on electric vehicles market opportunities

Being able to develop these technologies, and comfortably scale up as EV demand grows further, will require a combination of technical knowledge in-house and support from specialist suppliers.

Speak to us today about how ADS can support these opportunities, developing specialist components for all types of electric vehicle chargers.