Electric cars: Longest distances to charging points revealed

Electric car charging point Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Drivers in parts of London do not have to travel far to find an electric car charging point

Wide variations remain in the average distance between electric car charge points, with some drivers facing distances of up to 47 miles (76km).

North Devon has the longest average distances between public charging points, according to Department for Transport statistics.

The RAC said there was "some way to go" before users would be cured of "range anxiety".

The average distance between charging points in England was 3.8 miles (6km).

It compares with an average distance between petrol and diesel filling stations of one mile.

In North Devon, the average distance between public charging points can be between 18 and 47 miles. Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria has average distances of up to 37 miles (60km).

The RAC says the furthest distance between petrol stations in the UK is 19 miles, for drivers in Applecross, West Scotland.

However, electric car drivers in Southwark, London, will find a public charging point every 97m (106 yds). There are parts of Manchester and Newcastle-upon-Tyne where the average distance to a charge point is only 193m (211 yds).

Rise in use

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, 17,000 hybrid and electric cars left UK showrooms in March 2016, compared with 1,354 in the same month in 2006.

Go Ultra Low, the joint government and car industry campaign to get drivers to switch to electric vehicles, said year-on-year sales were up 23%, with more than 115 electric cars registered every day in the first quarter of 2016, equivalent to one every 13 minutes.

Charging vs fuelling


UK public charging point locations


UK filling stations

  • 1 mile average distance between filling stations

  • 3.8 miles average distance between charging points

  • 106.41p Price per litre for unleaded petrol

  • 96p Typical cost of charging an electric car

Getty Images

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: "It should be remembered that one of the big benefits of electric vehicles is the ability for motorists to charge up before they leave home.

"But once they've left, they currently rely on charging points on major roads and in city centres as it is along these roads where the greatest investment in charging infrastructure has so far taken place.

"Coverage away from major roads is still patchy, but that is to be expected given where the greatest number of electric vehicles are likely to be. Having more charging points available will be essential in helping drivers overcome so-called "range anxiety", where they fear running out of power before they can recharge."

Poppy Welch, head of Go Ultra Low, said: "Potential electric vehicle (EV) buyers can be encouraged by the fact that there are already more than 10,000 publicly-accessible charge points located across the UK and many more new units are being installed in urban and rural areas in the coming months."

Dale Vince, founder of green energy supplier Ecotricity and charging network the Electric Highway, said drivers were getting more miles per charge as technology improved.

He said: "In the last couple of years we've seen improvements in charging times; coming down from several hours to 20 minutes - and improvements in vehicle range; from a typical 100 to more like 200 today."

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