Zap-Map, the UK’s leading app and digital platform for electric vehicle (EV) drivers to search, plan and pay for charging, has published its annual EV Charging Survey. The survey provides a deep dive into understanding the shape and usage of the electric car charging network in the UK.
The survey, which provides a direct insight into the experience and behaviour of a unique sample of electric vehicle drivers, is based on the responses of more than 3,000 electric car drivers across the UK.
One of the key results from the survey is that it found a high satisfaction among electric vehicle drivers. They are increasingly confident about driving long distances, with less than one percent wanting to go back to petrol or diesel.
This is a huge accolade for driving electric cars. It shows once people drive them they realise all the benefits from sustainability and green credentials, through to the ease of driving and huge savings in running costs. Plus, in the current climate of rising fuel prices and fuel shortages, it’s no wonder the interest in electric cars is greater than ever.
The survey also found the vast majority of electric vehicle drivers (93 percent) continue to use the UK’s public charging networks, with 40 percent using public chargers at least once a week. The survey saw a significant increase in both the installation and usage of high-powered ultra-rapid charging devices across the country in 2021.
While rapid chargers, offering 25kW – 99kW, are still used by the most electric vehicle drivers overall, the survey found that the usage of ultra-rapid chargers jumped to 27 percent, up from just 16 percent in the previous survey.
This increase in usage has been driven by the growing number of ultra-rapid chargers that are now available to use. The availability of these devices grew by 60 percent in 2021.
This provides a clear indication that the new ultra-rapid chargers are fulfilling demand from electric vehicle drivers travelling longer distances, with most new electric cars now able to charge at higher speeds.
The survey also noted the growth in the popularity of electric vehicle charging hubs. These typically feature Ultra-rapid devices, chargers offering 100kW-plus, and are often used as part of ‘en route’ charging, when drivers want to charge as quickly as possible.
The hubs typically feature groups of between four and 10 charging devices that enable drivers to add between 70 (112km) and 200 miles (322km) of charge in around 30 minutes.
As a result, the survey found that networks installing charging hubs saw high increases in demand from electric vehicle drivers. InstaVolt, for example, leapt up to 42 percent of drivers from 26 percent previously.
GRIDSERVE’s Electric Highway saw increased demand too, at 29 percent, proving popular for its first year. High-powered networks IONITY and Osprey also saw increases in the proportion of drivers using their chargers.
While charging hubs demonstrated the most growth in terms of usage, supermarkets and motorway service areas retained the top two positions, with 52 percent and 50 percent of respondents respectively saying they regularly used these locations.
Supermarkets have seen a significant increase in the number of charge points being installed and charge points at motorway service areas have seen charging facilities being upgraded over the last year by GRIDSERVE.
In addition, both retail and public car parks remain popular locations for charging, although usage has dipped in the last year.
Melanie Shufflebotham, Zap-Map Co-founder & COO, said: “As the number of EV drivers on the road approaches half a million, a robust charging infrastructure is essential, and the public charging network is growing and developing to meet these changing needs.
“This new survey shows that the 60 percent growth in high speed ultra-rapid chargers and the installation of charging hubs across the UK in 2021 are being used by an increasing proportion of EV drivers.
“We know that EV charging use cases are diverse, as the survey makes clear, and we absolutely need a range of charge speeds to match them.
“However, amongst other considerations, the demand for high-powered chargers revealed in this report indicates that ultra-rapid chargers and charging hubs continue to be a crucial area of investment – for the simple fact that they make long journeys easier.”
The survey also lists the top charging networks in the UK. InstaVolt received the highest customer rating in the UK, with MFG EV Power second and Osprey rounding out the top three.