According to latest figures compiled by the RAC Foundation, almost three quarters of motorway service stations in England now have charging points, with 70 locations offering a crucial service to drivers of electric vehicles (EVs). This equates to 72 per cent of the total 97 service stations in the country.
These locations include 165 charging points, 92 per cent of which are rapid chargers – allowing (in most cases) an 80 per cent charge in less than 30 minutes – recognising the driving needs of those on the motorway network. Note that where a service station straddles the road – has sites on both sides – it has been counted as a single location.
The RAC Foundation’s analysis shows that EV drivers on England’s motorway network will be no more than 20 miles away from a service station charge point 98 per cent of the time – 1,831 out of 1,859 miles.
The research was widened to include the Strategic Road Network, which includes all routes managed by Highways England such as major A roads. Drivers on this network are currently within 20 miles of a charge point 82 per cent of the time – 3,845 miles out of 4,668.
These figures show that Highways England is close to fulfilling its aim that EV drivers should never be “more than 20 miles from a charge point on the Strategic Road Network”. The agency is currently looking at ways to ‘plug the gaps’ to ensure that their objective is achieved.
While the RAC Foundation analysis does not include charge points in locations other than on strategic roads in England, the following table also shows charge point availability across Scotland and Wales.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Electric car drivers might still struggle to drive from Land’s End to John o’ Groats but they can now travel from Southampton to Perth in a relatively straight line and be confident of being able to ‘fill up’ along the way.
“The growing charge point network is good news but there are important caveats. Though many of the charge points are rapid, it will still take about 30 minutes to fully replenish a battery. This is fine if you’re first in the queue but could be a challenge if the hoped-for take up of electric cars materialises and you’re stuck at the back of a very long line.
“Drivers need to know the charge point they intend to use is actually working. Previous research by the RAC Foundation suggested that at any one time a third of charge points in London were out of action.”