De-risking UK supply infrastructure
The UK certainly has the potential to develop a world-leading EV market, but if it is to improve its position in the rankings of the world’s top EV markets, the supply ecosystem needs further support. Of the three areas measured by the EY Global EV Country Readiness Index, this is the key element holding the UK back when it comes to advancing the domestic market.
The index measures five main elements in relation to supply: the domestic presence and future plans of OEMs; energy ecosystem maturity, which includes renewable energy penetration, availability of smart charging and vehicle to grid (V2G) options, and the electricity demand-supply gap; charging infrastructure; EV battery supply; and the prevalence of new battery and EV business models, such as leasing, subscription, battery swapping and finance options.
For the UK to progress further in the rankings, certain areas will require government support, as well as public and private investment. Optimising the fragmented nature of the UK’s charging infrastructure should be a top priority, as should developing a UK manufacturing base for EV batteries. Such issues are already being addressed in other markets; for example, the German Government announced plans in July to fund a €90mn (£77.2m) public charging infrastructure modernisation programme.
What action can the Government take to thrive in the future?
While the UK is fairly competitive among peers in terms of EV demand, it is pegged comparatively low on consumer perception parameters, such as behaviour towards charging infrastructure availability and intention to purchase an EV as a next vehicle. About 54% of the surveyed consumers in the UK consider a lack of charging infrastructure as a deterrent to purchasing an EV, compared with less than 36% in Sweden, 40% in China, and 52% in Germany and the US, according to the EY Mobility Consumer Index.
Indeed, the UK’s EV charger to parc ratio – which measures the number of chargers available versus the stock of EV vehicles in use – is 0.08, slightly below the global average of 0.1. Charging capacity will need to increase to encourage motorists to purchase EVs in the short term, but also to underpin any future increase in EV use in the UK. There is also a need to balance out public, private and workplace charger availability. At-home chargers currently account for 90% of the UK total, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation. Building up workplace and public charging options should be a key element of any effort to develop demand by facilitating ease of EV use among consumers.