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Chargepoint availability and interoperability remain key concerns for EV drivers

Shell Recharge Solutions now has more than 10,000 chargepoints in the UK. Image: Shell/Twitter.

Shell Recharge Solutions now has more than 10,000 chargepoints in the UK. Image: Shell/Twitter.

Almost half of electric vehicle (EV) drivers want to see improved chargepoint availability, according to a new survey from Shell Recharge Solutions.

Drivers view their charging experience as suboptimal currently, with a perceived lack of chargers and the inability to access those chargers particularly flagged.

Chargepoint availability was one of the most important factors for driving mass EV adoption, the survey found, following on from an improved battery range and a lower initial purchase cost.

Only a third of respondents said that highway chargers met the charging speed they needed, a figure that dropped to just one-in-five for retail and hospitality locations.

As well as the availability of chargepoints, interoperability was flagged as a key concern for EV drivers. Over half now carry four or more cards to access public charging infrastructure, up from 21% in 2021.

More than half of respondents said they’d be willing to pay an additional amount to access charging infrastructure with just one card.

For EV drivers travelling to Europe interoperability becomes still more important, with two-in-five facing challenges with accessing charging. Additionally 65% of drivers said they would more frequently visit destination locations based on the availability of charging, and 54% of drivers said the cost of the chargepoint influences where they shop and travel.

The low total cost of ownership of an EV is one the biggest drivers of adoption – with 55% citing it and 70% saying they’d choose a BEV over a hybrid due to the environmental benefits – but 68% worry about the impact of rising electricity prices.

In the UK, the price cap jumped 54% in April as wholesale power prices have jumped to record highs on the back of gas prices surging, which have become still more volatile in part because of the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Shell Recharge Solutions’ survey found that 72% of drivers expect the mass adoption of EVs to lower purchasing and ownership costs going forwards however. Almost half of respondents said lower purchasing costs would encourage EV adoption.

Almost 60% of the EV drivers surveyed believe that smart charging will also be a good way to encourage more people to switch to EVs. And over half of drivers said they would accept slower charging if this would support the use of renewable energy, with 40% prepared to drive further to use a public charger that is powered by renewable energy.

The survey also found that almost a third of drivers want EV charging to be integrated with at-home renewables, further highlighting the importance of sustainable energy for charging.

“It’s clear that there is a growing passion for EVs, where drivers are motivated by technology, cost, and sustainability, but it’s also evident that the lack of a good user experience remains a key barrier to mass adoption,” said Melanie Lane, CEO of Shell Recharge Solutions Europe.

“To continue momentum and encourage further EV adoption, these issues must be addressed. Drivers should feel they have access to sufficient chargepoints with a convenient, seamless and reliable charging experience. By focusing on improving the user experience, we are choosing to listen to drivers, and we are encouraging the industry to join us.”

Three-quarters of EV drivers expect their next vehicle to be a BEV, up from around 62% in last year’s survey. Meanwhile the proportion of those thinking of returning to a traditional combustion energy vehicle has halved from 4% to 2%.

The adoption of EVs has continued to surge throughout the beginning of 2022 in the UK, with 12,899 BEVs sold in April, an increase of 40.9% on the same month last year. This follows March being the best ever month for sales of BEVs, with more sold in the month than in the entirety of 2019.

Shell Recharge Solutions celebrated hitting a new milestone in February, with more than 10,000 public chargers available on its network in the UK.

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