Rollout of EV chargers in UK gathers pace

Cars recharging at supermarket - Gareth Herincx

The total number of public electric car chargers across the UK has grown by almost 15% since the end of December.

According to Zap-Map, the UK’s leading EV charging app, there’s been an increase from 28,458 to 32,663 of devices.

The biggest growth sector was ultra-rapid charging which grew 40% in the first half of 2022, which shows that the ultra-rapid charging roll-out is more than keeping pace with the increase in EV drivers, which has grown 29% over the same period.

The growth in ultra-rapid charge points is largely due to networks such as MFG EV Power, InstaVolt and GRIDSERVE Electric Highway, which are rolling out high-speed charging ‘hubs’ of at least six devices across the country.

GRIDSERVE, Braintree, Essex

In terms of where chargers are located, of the 4,205 new devices installed this year, 1,662 of them are ‘on-street’ chargers.

Found on residential streets, on-street devices tend to be either slow or fast chargers and, generally speaking, provide an alternative to charging at home.

The number of these chargers has increased by just under 19% in 2022 so far, growing from 8,842 at the end of 2021 to 10,504 at the end of June.

Although a combination of networks, including char.gy and Connected Kerb, has been driving the growth of on-street chargers, ubitricity – which predominantly fits slow devices into lampposts – has installed 981 chargers so far this year, the most of any network.

VW-e-Up-charging

“The 40% increase in the number of ultra-rapid chargers is clearly the headline figure so far in 2022. These types of chargers make longer journeys far easier, so the big increase should really mean we see an end to ‘range anxiety’,” said Melanie Shufflebotham, Co-founder & COO at Zap-Map.

“But let’s not forget that slower chargers also have a critical role to play. They might not provide the excitement of adding hundreds of miles in minutes – but with more than half a million pure-electric cars now on UK roads, their part to play in the adoption of electric cars is just as important as their ultra-rapid counterparts.

“It’s crucial that the rollout of high-speed charging hubs continues at pace, alongside the increasing provision of on-street chargers for those without driveways, ideally with local councils engaged along the way.”

Volkswagen ID.4 review

Volkswagen ID.4 review

Is VW’s new electric car right for your family? We find out…

Futuristically designed inside and out, the ID.4 is Volkswagen’s first 100% electric SUV.

Winner of the prestigious World Car of the Year 2021 award, this distinctive family-sized EV features a small driver’s digital instrument cluster and a larger infotainment screen mounted on the centre console (just like its smaller sibling, the ID.3 hatchback).

Volkswagen ID.4 review

Priced from £34,995 and available with two sizes of battery (52kW and 77kW), it has a range of between 211-317 miles and achieved a maximum five-star Euro NCAP score, making it one of the safest new cars on the road. 

Fitted with Isofix points in the front passenger seat, as well as the rear, standard safety and driver assistance systems include AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking), lane assist, adaptive cruise control and driver fatigue detection.

Volkswagen ID.4 review

It also features a centre-mounted airbag which protects the driver and front passenger from hard mutual contact in the event of a side crash.

In terms of size, the ID.4 is about the same size as a Tiguan, but bigger inside, so it’s substantial with plenty of room for the family.

Volkswagen ID.4 review

There’s also lots of space for luggage – 543 litres with the rear seats in place, expanding to 1,575 litres with all the back seats flipped.

We tested the ID.4 with the biggest battery and the longest range (starting at around £46,000). It’s mid-range and is billed as the ‘Family’ version. There’s also the entry-level Life, followed by Style, (Family), Max, GTX and GTX Max.

Despite feeling big on the road and weighing more than two tonnes, it’s swift with a 0-62mph sprint time of 8.5 seconds. And, as ever with an electric vehicle (EV), there’s instant oomph and zero emissions.

Volkswagen ID.4 review

It’s also easy to drive with a commanding view of the road. The interior design is cool, comfortable, well put together and minimalist, though the infotainment screen won’t appeal to everyone because it’s all about tapping and swiping – and it’s not the most responsive system out there.

It would be an exaggeration to call this version of the ID.4 fun to drive, but all EVs have their moments (especially at traffic lights and overtaking) and it’s a joy to cruise along silently.

Volkswagen ID.4 review

Our test car was not all-wheel drive, but still seemed to have plenty of traction and grip. Composed, unless really pushed in more challenging corners, it’s more agile than you might think for a big car.

However, if you want all-wheel drive and more tuned driving dynamics, then you’ll have to opt for one of the more sporty range-stoppers.

Volkswagen ID.4

As far as practicality goes, if you have a home wallpod, it will fully charge overnight (11 hours). If you can find a 125kW rapid charger, it will take just 38 minutes to reach 80% full charge, while a real-world range of 250 miles is very realistic.

Of course, the ID.4 will also charge on the move via regenerative braking (which returns most of the energy from braking and coasting back into the battery while you’re driving).

Volkswagen ID.4 review

Electric SUV rivals include the Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia e-Niro, Audi Q4 e-tron, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Skoda Enyaq and Ford Mustang Mach-e.

Verdict: If you’re looking for a big SUV that’s kind to the planet, stands out from the crowd and boasts serious badge appeal, then the practical Volkswagen ID.4 could be right up your street. In short, it’s the kind of sensible car you buy with your head, not your heart. Price: from £34,995 – £56,380 (including the Government Plug-in Car Grant)