The government’s investment in the EV charging infrastructure is not enough.

The boss of one of Britain’s biggest car leasing businesses has dismissed the government’s plans. He describes the planned investment as ‘inadequate’, warning that a huge upturn in demand for EVs risks overwhelming capacity.

EV sales boost

Andy Alderson, founder and CEO of online leasing brand Vanarama, has seen orders for electric cars skyrocket. They are up more than 1,000% in 2021 and more than double since fuel shortages began in late September. The online leasing marketplace now processes an average of 55 pure-electric vehicle orders every day. Alone, they expect to deliver more than 20,000 EVs to customers in the next year.

This huge surge in consumer demand for EVs is far outpacing the roll-out of public charge points. Alderson believes the  £620 million investment announced this week goes nowhere near far enough. Its is part of the Government’s Net Zero Strategy and comes ahead of  the international COP26 summit in Glasgow.

Alderson warns that a failure by Ministers to accelerate investment risks stalling the switch to EVs. This will put the goal to end the sale of all petrol and diesel cars by 2030 at risk. This, he says, would be failing UK motorists, the UK automotive industry and the global environment.

“The Government needs to act and act quickly if it is to remain on course for its Net Zero targets,” states Alderson.

“We are seeing massive demand for electric vehicles and that demand is growing all the time. But if nothing is done to improve the availability of public charge points, we risk losing the momentum.”

He adds: “Every car manufacturer has accelerated plans for electric vehicles and it’s imperative that the government follows suit.”

Not alone

A report by independent transport research organisation New AutoMotive agreed with Alderson’s assessment. It estimates that the UK will need between 230,000 and 280,000 public chargers by 2035 to meet demand. There are currently just 24,000.

To keep up with demand it estimates that 40-50 charge points need to be installed across the country every single day.

This demand is such that a staggering 50% of all car orders made through Vanarama are now for fully electric vehicles. It rises to 62% if you include hybrid models.

Across the year as a whole (2021 YTD) orders of electric cars are up a whopping 1011% on 2020 levels.

Still accelerating

Current forecasts suggest the trend will continue to accelerate.

The most popular fully-electric models are the VW ID3 (accounting for 21% of all EV orders), Renault ZOE (17%) and Tesla Model 3 (16%).

Orders of the VW ID3 have doubled since the fuel crisis started, while orders for the Tesla Model 3 have more than quadrupled in the same period. However, waiting lists and times are increasing too. In part this is due to the computer chip  supply issues, alongside Covid related staff shortages across the globe.

Alderson says that recent sales “since the pandemic and particularly since the fuel crisis has been off the charts”.

“It’s hard to see this as anything other than the tipping point where motorists turn their backs on petrol and diesel”.  

“The vast majority of EVs on the market today are more than capable of meeting the needs of the average driver. However, the public charging infrastructure needs massive investment.”