Electric charging infrastructure – is it good enough? 

Torbay Weekly

Recently, I needed to attend a meeting in Manchester and having taken a number of longer trips in my Mustang Mach E, I prepared for my journey.

The Lowry Hotel at my destination had charging facilities for four electric cars so I had no problem in getting a full charge but the distance to return to South Devon was rather close to my maximum range so I looked for a convenient charging point near the M5 at Bristol.

I identified a fast charger at a Shell station at Cribbs Causeway and worked out I would need about a quarter-of-an-hour to receive the top-up required.

Unfortunately, on arrival, although my card was accepted and I was able to plug in, the charger was out of order.

It took some time to locate an alternative which was another single point at an Aldi site and was not a fast charger, resulting in an overall delay of almost an hour.

On further investigation it became evident a number of chargers in the UK were not functioning which will inconvenience electric vehicle drivers and put off some potential purchasers.

It is up to the operators to ensure these chargers are operating and, if they fail, are repaired quickly.

The Government should ensure this is a standard which must be adhered to.

There is no point in new product removing range anxiety if it is replaced by 'lack of charging facilities' anxiety.

The Government plans to increase the number of electric vehicles year by year so must ensure the infrastructure is more than adequate and well maintained if they wish to meet their objectives.

Following Nissan’s announcement earlier this year to invest further in their electric car business, Ford announced they will invest £230 million in their Halewood plant to make parts for their electric vehicles - protecting the operation for many years to come and safeguarding some 500 jobs.

The factory will make electric power units from 2024 which replace the engine and transmission in petrol cars.

It is good news for the area and the British motor industry.

Motorists are waiting to see the detail of what the net zero objective will mean but in the meantime are having to put up with petrol and diesel prices at record levels -  almost £1.42 per litre.

This is as a result of the oil price doubling since last year and could rise further.

This will also add cost to deliveries and is likely to be passed on to the customer in addition to the increased cost to recruit HGV drivers.

This shortage is not just in the UK and other European countries are also competing for these drivers.

By the time you read this the Chancellor will have presented the autumn Budget and particularly how it will affect motorists as more and more people use their cars for business and leisure.

Business will also be concerned if there are additional transport costs as the economy pushes to return to normal. More on this next week.

Keep safe and keep smiling. I look forward to next week.