Propelling the EV sector forward through sustainable means

Guest Editor: Adrian Keen, CEO of InstaVolt

The UK has been clear in its goals to decarbonise all sectors of the UK economy in order to meet its self-imposed net zero target by 2050. The country is moving in a direction where clean transport options are not only offered but encouraged and favoured. This is an incredible impetus for leading businesses in the sector looking to ramp up innovation.

While the need for decarbonisation across sectors is clear across industry, an uplift in consumer engagement with the sustainability agenda is accelerating growth. In the EV sector, the way to encourage adoption is to make it easy, by providing a reliable, accessible and consistent service that gives EV drivers confidence.

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The industry is in great health, with smart investments and acceleration in the deployment of EV chargers.

InstaVolt is at the forefront of this having become the largest charging network, overtaking Tesla, with 1,350 chargers across the country. Other networks are also raising the standards and the historically poor reputation for public charging is changing, and we should all applaud one another.

Negative sentiment from the press has led to articles and criticism of EV’s throughout 2023 when the opposite is true, and we need to work together as an industry to break down some of the myths. EV sales are up, with more than 950,000 vehicles on the UK’s roads and charging infrastructure has never been better. This was not helped with the Government announcement (2035) but the fact that the ZEV mandate remains in force means the transition is being taken as seriously as ever.

InstaVolt has not slowed down its plans.

While we’re working hard to execute the network growth, it must be through a sustainable lens by ensuring the installs we deliver are both utilised and future proofed. Underpinning our expansion strategy is a set of data that allows us to pinpoint where the demand is, so we know that the chargers will deliver against our sustainability goals. This year to date, our network has provided 146,578,451 emission free miles, equating to 37,959,251 greenhouse gases saved which is equivalent to 336,144 trees being planted for 10 years – a demonstration of the genuine usage across our network.

As well as reaching considerable utilisation goals, we launched in Iceland with the country’s largest EV charging hub and will be launching in Spain, Portugal and the Republic of Ireland. 

The hub strategy seen in Iceland has been reflected in the UK too, with planning just confirmed for our first super hub along the A34 in Winchester, which gives us the opportunity to build from scratch and create charging infrastructure with the future in mind, considering accessibility features as the uptake of EVs increases. To build without these features which we know will form part of policy requirements would be creating additional work for our future selves as we would have to refresh in a matter of years, therefore doing it correctly now allows us to expand both sustainably and efficiently. 

Off the motorway…

Outside of traditional motorway service areas, dedicated EV charging hubs, like our proposed site along the A34 in Winchester, are forming. These hubs, situated along motorways and dual carriageways will play a big role in supporting the transition to electric. Hosting 20+ chargers and featuring amenities for drivers so they’re able to stop and get a coffee and a snack to recharge themselves while they charge, will aide those travelling on longer journeys. This strategy is the future, however, obtaining land remains a challenge. The industry could go faster still if landlords, including local authorities, were more engaged and willing to enter into arrangements to host chargers. 

Looking ahead to the next few years, we know that this is prime time for businesses to form part of the response to climate action, but it mustn’t be conducted without correct care and attention. Those who sit within the clean and green space have a responsibility to build at a rate that supports their own sustainability goals, ensuring that they are responding to demand and not growing for the sake of it. We are proud to be a company that is leading the charge in this exciting sector.

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