With the ICE ban taking effect in 2030, the sale of any internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles will be prohibited on UK soil, leaving many citizens wondering how the current infrastructure surrounding EV usage will change as a result. While the UK government plans to build 300,000 charging stations by the same deadline to speed up the EV transition, some experts believe that such an ambitious target may require more hands on deck. In an exclusive interview with Earth.Org, Nick Woolley, co-founder of ev.energy, a leading provider of EV smart energy, argues that greater collaboration between invested stakeholders in the EV industry is needed to achieve such an ambitious target.

The UK government has pledged to ban the sales of all new gas- and diesel-powered vehicles by 2030, marking a significant leap forward in reducing their country’s contribution to global emissions.

In conjunction with this promise, the government also plans to build 300,000 charging stations

by the same deadline, an amount that is equivalent to five times the number of fuel pumps on UK roads today. Backed by a £1.6 billion (approximately US$2.1bn) investment, the plan includes a £500 million ($655 million) investment towards public charge points in communities across the UK as well as £450 million ($589 million) for the local electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure fund.

As monumental as this shift is, some experts believe that this significant change could spell disaster for a power infrastructure that shows little promise in its ability to accommodate such an increase in EV usage. 

Nick Woolley, co-founder of ev.energy, a leading provider of EV smart charging, echoes this sentiment, arguing that the kind of infrastructure required demands significant collaboration amongst essential stakeholders. 

“With the 2030 ICE ban, … the government has placed electric vehicles at the forefront of its net-zero strategy,” he said. 

 “While this presents an optimistic outlook for the industry, several challenges around grid stability, charging infrastructure, and consumer support still need to be addressed to ensure a successful transition.”

Improving EV Infrastructure in the UK

According to Woolley, the EV infrastructure will likely require improvement in its interoperability and ease of use. If the user experience can be streamlined through the implementation of standardised payment methods, user-friendly interfaces, and hassle-free access to charging points, EV charging will be more easily adopted by the average consumer. 

“This will reduce concerns about range anxiety, which is a key barrier to EV adoption,” said Woolley. 

Accessibility and availability are also an area of concern. Woolley states that the distribution and density of charging infrastructure will require upgrades, especially in rural locations so that EV owners have convenient and reliable access to charging stations. 

“Accommodating charging infrastructure in different housing and building types such as commercial workplace buildings and multi-unit dwellings will help with this too,” explained Woolley.

According to the UK Department for Transport, 80% of charging occurs at home. The remaining 20% of charging that occurs outside the home is normally achieved through rapid chargers such as the Tesla supercharger network. 

“While the Tesla network represents only 2% of the public charging network in the UK – with approximately 836 chargers – a significant amount of battery electric vehicle (BEV) owners, estimated at around 30% – rely on this network for their charging needs,” said Woolley.

“Instead of being fixated on the absolute number of chargers, the focus should be on delivering a charging network that is logical and extensively utilised by drivers, similar to the Tesla network.”

Collaboration Required Between Essential Stakeholders

Before any improvements can be made, Woolley argues that significant collaboration is required between some of the industry’s most invested stakeholders, including automotive manufacturers, energy providers and grid operators, chargepoint manufacturers, governments and policymakers, as well as EV users, each with their own ability to either hinder or facilitate the EV industry’s continued success in the UK. 

Automotive manufactures, for example, are continuously improving upon their designs to make their vehicles drive for longer, charge faster, and cost less. Energy providers ensure that the grids are able to take on the increase in energy demand associated with EV’s, and chargepoint manufacturers and installers help guarantee that the energy is easily accessible across the country.

Meanwhile, government and policymakers are essential in determining the regulatory landscape as well as providing the finances required to support the EV industry. In the case of consumers, they provide feedback and preferences which shape the market and influence future EV developments, making them as essential as the energy grid that fuels their vehicles. 

“Collaboration between industry stakeholders and policymakers is necessary to develop effective policies, incentives, and regulations that encourage EV adoption and address barriers to entry,” said Woolley. 

“By collaborating and sharing expertise, these stakeholders can address challenges collectively, drive innovation, and create an environment conducive to the successful transition to electric mobility.” 

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