Call for charge point targets as EV sales soar


Electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure is struggling to keep up with rising sales, with more than a quarter of new cars currently being sold capable of being plugged in.

According to the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 21,726 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were registered last month, equating to 18.8% of the market and more than double the level in November 2020.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) share of the market grew to 9.3% at 10,796 units.

For the year so far, one in six (17.5%) of the 1,538,585 new cars registered have been BEVs or PHEVs. Hybrid electric vehicles have so far taken a 9.0% share, meaning that 26.5% of the new car market during 2021 has been electrified.

Mild hybrid electric vehicles also took 15.2% of the market in November

New car registrations grew 1.7% to 115,706 units in November, which the SMMT said had ended four months of consecutive decline, but ‘must be viewed in the context of a weak 2020, when lockdowns impacted registrations, including November’.

Compared to the pre-pandemic average the market remains down significantly with -31.3% fewer vehicles registered during the month, the SMMT said.

The trade body said its analysis showed that the pace of on-street public charging infrastructure is lagging, with the number of plug-in cars potentially sharing a public on-street charger deteriorating from 11 to 16 between 2019 and 2020.

There is just one standard on-street public charger installed for every 52 new plug-in cars registered over the course of this year.

Chief executive Mike Hawes said: ‘The continued acceleration of electrified vehicle registrations is good for the industry, the consumer and the environment but, with the pace of public charging infrastructure struggling to keep up, we need swift action and binding public charger targets so that everyone can be part of the electric vehicle revolution, irrespective of where they live.’

Neil Isaacson, CEO of Liberty Charge, said: ‘The SMMT call is welcomed and highlights the very real need to accelerate the roll-out of on-street charging. But if we are to turn hopes into reality, then as an industry we need to work together to install and maintain reliable equipment that is easy and convenient to use, support local authorities with clear guidance to help demystify the logistics of planning and regulation, and use data and insight to inform on location priorities.

‘Of course, there needs to be renewed urgency in tackling the chronic shortage, but the solutions installed must inspire consumer confidence and be made available in such a way that makes transport sustainable and accessible to everyone.’

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