Contact Us

Electric vehicle charging – are electric vehicles finally charging ahead?

Published on August 11, 2021

By Ian Wickett, Associate Director, Transport Planning

If you’ve watched any TV adverts lately, you may have noticed that many of the big car manufacturers are now promoting electric and hybrid vehicles over and above their diesel and petrol counterparts. Year-on-year sales for electric and hybrid vehicles are growing fast and last year they accounted for over 10% of all new car sales. This trend is set to continue, which is great news for reducing our carbon emissions. But are we really ready for more electric vehicles (EV) on our roads, and how will we charge them all?

RSK’s webinar series COP26: Green Dialogues will be looking at the questions are being raised about the practicalities and challenges that the shift to EVs will bring.

Advances in technology have already started to address initial fears over the range of EVs, with new models boasting the ability to cover stretches of over 200 miles, a journey very few would want to take without a break.

The next big challenge is how people will be able to charge their zero-emissions car. Of course, it’s easy enough if you have a driveway or garage, but what if you live in a terraced house or an apartment? Or what if you’re renting and the landlord won’t provide a charging point? There are practical issues to resolve here: having cables trailing across the pavement is not going to be acceptable or safe, even more so if you’re parked some way down the road from your property.

There are some solutions already available, such as charging points in lamp posts, while others such as wireless charging from under the road surface are being developed. However, as with many questions around EVs, perhaps we are coming at this from the wrong angle…if we were converting from electricity to petrol, would we be questioning how the petrol companies would supply fuel to every individual house? Perhaps home charging isn’t where we need to be focusing, especially as the vast majority of car journeys cover less than 20 miles. Most people don’t refuel their cars with petrol or diesel every day, so why would they need to charge an EV every day?

Customer cost and convenience are the key players here and it will be interesting to see how charging patterns emerge in response to these. Many new-build properties now include EV charging points, but points are also being installed at petrol stations and across the country in car parks at supermarkets, retail parks and business parks. In fact, there are some 42,000 charging points at 15,500 locations across the country and demand is set to rise. Both options are likely to be necessary to meet growing demand and achieve the shift to EVs that is needed.

It will initially be more expensive to charge an EV at a public point rather than at home, but once there is a good network of charging points, competition should push profit margins down to minimal levels, as it currently does for petrol. Nevertheless, EV charging is still significantly cheaper than petrol for driving the same distance, even if using public chargers.

In terms of convenience, the time needed to recharge is also decreasing. A full recharge at home using a 3-kW or 7-kW charger might take most of the night, but ultra-rapid chargers will have a rating in excess of 100 kW and can charge 80% of your battery in just 20 minutes. With ever-evolving battery technology, it is possible to charge an EV with sufficient range for your daily journey in just a few minutes, no longer than you might spend at a traditional petrol pump, offering the same convenience but at a fraction of the cost.

The cost of owning an EV over a few years including maintenance costs is already comparable to owning a petrol-fuelled car and the cost of the vehicle alone is predicted to be the same as early as 2024, leaving little choice for new buyers. No wonder then that electric vehicle sales are up. To make sure our transport choices accelerate the zero-emissions transition, we must ensure sufficient infrastructure is invested in and developed to keep up with demand.

See more insights


Ian Wickett

Associate Transport Planning Director, RSK

More from this author

As an associate transport planning director at RSK, Ian provides a range of services to clients: site due diligence and feasibility, through the planning process, during construction and supporting the operation of a site. He deals with all aspects of traffic, highways and transport on sites in the UK and abroad.

Contact this author

📢 We are delighted to share that we will be attending Solar & Storage LIVE 2022, the UK’s largest renewable energy exhibition

☀️ The event brings together expert voices from the solar, storage and electric vehicle industries for a celebration of the technology and innovation that are leading the way in developing a smarter, greener energy network

Find out more in our bio!

📅 18th - 20th October 2022
📍 NEC Birmingham

#Energy #SolarEnergy #Renewables #GreenEnergy #CleanEnergy #RenewableEnergy

🏢 Will regenerative design be key in building a resilient future?

🏙️ In the first article of our new series Cities of Tomorrow, our panel explores what role regenerative design plays in forming a framework for our cities of tomorrow.

📌 The conversation was hosted by Andrew Tempany, Technical Director at @stephensonhalliday

Read more in our bio!

#Architecture #Design #Development #Sustainability #Sustainable #Environment

🏆 We are proud to share that RSK Group is a finalist for the annual @britchamsg Singapore Award 2022 under the Sustainability Champion of the Year category.

⭐ We are thrilled to see the hard work of our dedicated teams being recognised by this prestigious organization.

📌 The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony that will take place at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore on October 13th

#Sustainability #Awards #Sustainable #Event #Environment #Environmental

📢 RSK Group is delighted to announce that we are one of the sponsors of the Ground Source Heat Pump Association’s conference and charity dinner.

🤝 The Conference is an opportunity to gain insight into the heat pump installation industry, through a series of coordinated expert panel sessions, presentations, and networking opportunities.

💚 Geocore Site Investigations Ltd, Ground Heat, ZED and Carbon Zero Consulting will be attending this event.

We can’t wait to see you there!

📅 30th September 2022
📍 The Coniston Hotel Country Estate & Spa, Skipton

#Energy #Heating #GroundSourceHeatPumps #HeatPumps #Event #Conference #GroundHeat