Going the extra mile: overcoming ‘range anxiety’
When taking to the road, you wouldn’t forget to fill up your tank or make sure your phone was fully-charged for a day of work…
While the EV sector is undoubtedly off to the races, making record sales in the UK, consumers remain anxious about there being enough charge points across the country, to help them charge up their cars. This has resulted in a phenomenon called ‘range anxiety’ – drivers having a concern about being left stranded, if charge parts are too out-of-reach.
As a result, the government-based Competition & Markets Authority is launching a brand-new study, to see what can be done to alleviate this pain point for consumers.
A tight schedule for the CMA
The CMA has a ticking clock to bear in mind, when it comes to improving conditions for EV consumers. By the 2030s, petrol and diesel cars will no longer be on the market for new drivers, as part of the UK’s efforts to decarbonise by 2050.
Government estimates place the number of charge points across the UK at 20,000 as of December 2020. That’s significantly more than in 2011, when just 1,500 were in operation. While this increase is impressive, capacity would need to grow much further and at greater speed, in order to give drivers peace of mind.
The CMA faces a task of having to ensure that the EV sector remains competitive, while also making sure it attracts enough investment to continue growing over the coming years. Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, explains:
“Being able to easily stop off at a petrol station is a standard part of a journey and consumers must trust that electric chargepoints will provide a similarly straight-forward service. By getting involved early as electric vehicles and chargepoints are still developing, the CMA can make sure consumers are treated fairly now and in the future.”
UK’s first EV forecourt opens
The CMA’s efforts received a boost, when GRIDSERVE announced the recent opening of the UK’s first EV forecourt in Braintree, Essex, last week. This inaugural site is just the first in an intended set of 100 Electric Forecourts®, which will form as a GRIDSERVE network, expected to cost £1 billion over the next five years.
Toddington Harper, CEO of GRIDSERVE, unveiled the site’s opening, declaring: “It’s our collective responsibility to prevent greenhouse gas emissions rising further, and electric vehicles powered by clean energy represent a large part of the solution. However, charging has to be simple and free of anxiety…
People now have the full confidence to make the transition to an electric vehicle, knowing that charging is in-hand, and it’s actually less expensive to use an electric car than a petrol or diesel alternative.– Toddington Harper, CEO, GRIDSERVE
“People now have the full confidence to make the transition to an electric vehicle, knowing that charging is in-hand, and it’s actually less expensive to use an electric car than a petrol or diesel alternative.”
This first Electric Forecourt®, situated just off the A131, adjacent to Great Notley, is able to power 36 EVs at the same time. High power outputs allow consumers to charge up with 350kW of power, allowing them to add 200 miles’ worth of range in just 20 minutes. Consumers can expect to pay just 24p per kWh of power, including VAT, offering some of the cheapest ultra-high power charging rates on the market.
It just goes to show that fuelling your car needn’t mean costing the earth or being charged an arm and a leg!