FOI reveals 52% of UK councils spent nothing on EV charging infrastructure this year

By Keith - October 28, 2021

Cambridge, UK, 28 October 2021 – DevicePilot, a service monitoring and management platform for EV chargepoint operators, today released the results of an FOI (Freedom of Information) campaign sent to 374 local councils in the UK – available to download here. The results reveal that 2021 has been a poor year for EV infrastructure investment, and nearly two thirds of councils received EV-related complaints from their constituents. While some parts of the country have made sizable investments in EV infrastructure, others have spent nothing, and/or received no government funding to do so. The report argues that the UK is not yet ready for the inevitable arrival of universal EV ownership, although 2022 promises to be a record-breaking year for EV investment. Key findings from the report include:  

  • 52% of councils spent nothing on EV chargepoints in the last 12 months
  • Nearly two thirds of UK councils (60%) received complaints about the availability, reliability or number of charging points over the last 12 months
  • On average, UK councils received 15% less funding from the Government for EV charging infrastructure in the last 12 months compared to the same period in 2020 
  • London councils spent more than double the national average on EV charging in 2021 (£204k)
  • London councils are planning to install 39 new chargers per 100,000 people in 2022, compared to a national average of just 9 per 100,000 people
  • The average cost of a council-bought chargepoint in the UK is £6,000, although figures range between £350 and £100,000
  • The total cost of EV maintenance across the UK is estimated at £5.6million
  • On average, councils are planning to install 52 charging points in their area by the end of 2022 (up from 28 in 2021)
  • Nearly half of councils (46%) reported that they don’t know how many chargepoints they will install in 2022, or are planning to install zero 

 “Universal EV ownership is not a target, it’s an inevitability,” said Pilgrim Beart, DevicePilot CEO and co-founder. “In the next ten years, more than half the cars on the road will be electric. To facilitate this transformation, the UK must install tens of thousands of chargepoints reaching every corner of the country. 

 “EVs are vital to the UK’s carbon emissions targets, but while some parts of the UK are on schedule to meet greater EV demands, others areas lack the funding to do anything whatsoever. I have a lot of sympathy for councils whose budgets have been stretched to breaking point by the pandemic and budget cuts, but we cannot continue to let the divide between the EV haves and have nots grow further. It should be the UK’s short-term goal to ensure everyone in the country can reap the benefits of EVs, not just the privileged few.

 To emphasise the divide between different parts of the UK, see below for two responses from councils to our FOI, on A) why no chargepoints were installed in 2021 and B) 2022 install plans:  

  1. From a council in the North West: “We have experienced over £100m in budget reductions from Central Government since 2010, which is a 50% funding cut.”
  2. From a council in greater London: “We have recently undertaken a demand forecasting assessment, which indicates the need for an average of 121 charge points per year over the next 10 years. This would include public charge points (a mixture of slow, fast, and rapid) as well as off-street parking (ie, on private driveways). However, this is a guideline figure only, and we anticipate a degree of flexibility to allow for changes in demand.”

To download the report, click here: DevicePilot EV Pain Points 2021.


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