EV Demand in Urban Areas
One of the most remarkable qualities of EV’s is their contribution to reducing air pollution. In 2019, Public Health England published a review declaring air pollution as the most significant environmental threat to health in the UK. The report claimed between 28,000 to 36,000 deaths a year are attributed to long-term exposure to pollution. Encouraging EV uptake in large cities, where air quality is at its lowest, is a fundamental pillar in addressing the issue.
However, one main barrier to EV adoption in urban areas remains: Charging. Around 40-50% of homes in the UK do not have access to off-street parking, resulting in many aspiring EV owners unsure of the practicalities of going electric. Given the growing need for zero-emission vehicles, city and town councils have ramped up investment in this area, providing several options for those wanting to make the leap from fossil fuels. Greater London, for example, now accounts for over 30% of all publicly available charge points in the UK as of May 2021.
While home charging remains the primary option for many, the lack of it no longer means you can’t run an EV efficiently. Read on for your options as an EV owner without home charging.
Workplace and Destination Charging
Outside the home, you need to consider two other forms of charging: your place of work or your ‘third space’. The idea here is to utilise the time when your vehicle is parked. Both offer incredibly convenient options. Let’s dig into each.
Given we spend a third of our day at work, charging while working is perhaps the most obvious and convenient choice – even for those who have access to a home charge point. The government’s WCS grant has enabled businesses of all sizes to invest in installing EV charging for staff, customers and visitors. If your workplace already has a unit installed, this could be a no-brainer solution to your problem. However, if your employer has yet to act on this, it may be worth reaching out to the HR department to let them know you’re considering an EV; despite available grants, companies will often want to know there is a demand before investing.
Alternatively, perhaps your workplace charging won’t take place at a traditional office building at all. With shifts in working structures due to the pandemic, more people than ever are working from home. While remote working is expected to become the new norm, WFH doesn’t have to equate to ‘home’ once restrictions ease. Perhaps a local coffee shop or the gym restaurant will double as your workplace in the future. Check out your local facilities to see where you can access EV charging during your workday.
Charging opportunities galore. As you go about your day, making the most out of the publicly available charge points will keep you topped up and ready to go. Perhaps it’s the gym, a trip to the cinema, visiting a family member or grocery shopping. Consider your weekly activities and check to see if there are charge points in those areas. While managing your charging schedule in this way may require an element of planning, it is certainly doable.
To get an idea of charging points available in your area, be sure to check out Zap-Map. With new charge points being installed every day, your EV charging routine could be a lot simpler than you initially thought.
A note on rapid charging: On paper, using fast superchargers seems ideal. An 80% charge in 20 minutes! However, it’s worth noting these charge points are typically located in areas with not much around. As a result, many have come to realise the ‘rapid charge paradox’ – “The faster the charging station, the longer you spend staring at your car charge”. If you happen to live close to a supercharger, try pairing the 20-30 min wait with something productive (or download an episode of your current Netflix binge).
To learn more about how long it takes to charge, check out our guide here.
If you can pair charging with an activity you would already be doing, then running your EV will become effortless, with or without home charging.
On-street charging has been installed in major cities and towns across the country as a way of addressing the issue of home-charging for residents without a private driveway or garage. If you already live on one of those streets, then perhaps all that is left to do is to organise usage between fellow EV owner neighbours. Otherwise, you can contact your local council to understand how they are using or plan to use the ORCS (On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme) funded by the government. Understanding demand in each area will prove beneficial to councils while planning and increase your chances of having an EV charger outside your home.
Furthermore, there have been cases where EV owners have worked alongside the local council to install a charge point outside their home, which is connected to their domestic energy supply. In instances where drivers have a designated parking space, this could offer a potential solution.
It is no secret that EV owners are among some of the friendliest and caring individuals. There is a whole community surrounding EV’s and the mission to live more sustainably. It is no surprise then that some tools around sharing charging points are cropping up. Helping those who do not have access to home-charging (or are in the area and need to charge), owners are allowing fellow drivers to use their charge points, either for free or at a cost. Check out https://co-charger.com/ and https://www.plugshare.com/ to identify potential sharing schemes near you.
To learn more about how much it costs to charge an EV, check out our guide here.
The options around charging are only set to increase with new technologies and infrastructure developments. With battery enhancements in terms of range and charging speed, it is unlikely the typical driver will need to charge more than a few times a week in the future. Whether you’re renting out your charge point or sharing someone else’s, EV ownership is quickly becoming accessible to everyone.