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‘Lack of public chargers deterring some drivers switching to electric vehicles’

PUBLISHED: 17:56 04 October 2018 | UPDATED: 08:10 05 October 2018

The new all-electric Jaguar I-Pace was a popular drive at the EV Driver Electric Vehicle Experience Day. Picture: Andy Russell

The new all-electric Jaguar I-Pace was a popular drive at the EV Driver Electric Vehicle Experience Day. Picture: Andy Russell

Andy Russell

Switching to electric cars is a ‘chicken and egg’ situation in this area for, despite a good uptake, many drivers are put off by a lack of public charging infrastructure. Motoring editor Andy Russell visited an experience day to help motorists find out more.

Electric vehicles charging up at the experience day. Picture: Andy RussellElectric vehicles charging up at the experience day. Picture: Andy Russell

East Anglia is one of the most switched-on areas in the UK for driving electric vehicles (EVs) but a lack of public charging points is deterring some motorists from plugging in to the future.

Linda Grave, CEO of Suffolk-based charge point provider EV Driver, said: “We are one of the biggest EV areas, percentage wise, but one of the worst for public infrastructure.

“We are a chicken and egg at the moment. People won’t buy an EV because there is not enough infrastructure – people fear the lack of infrastructure.

“In reality, people don’t realise 70 to 80pc of EV car charging is done at home. If you can leave home every day with a full charge, it will meet your daily needs. The average mileage in the UK is 26 a day so people could switch today but it is that one long journey that puts them off.”

A full-winged Tesla X. Picture: Andy RussellA full-winged Tesla X. Picture: Andy Russell

But with ranges increasing as new EVs came on to the market, longer journeys were becoming easier with some planning, she added.

EV Driver, now based at Melton, staged an Electric Vehicle Experience Day at RAF Bentwaters, near Woodbridge, for people to find out about the growing range of EVs, charging solutions and how they fit their lifestyles.

Each year EV Driving’s experience day gets bigger and 500 people attended this third event.

Pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles from local motor dealerships included BMW, Jaguar, MINI, Nissan, Range Rover while Renault and Tesla were represented by owners clubs and there were even electric Zero and Soco motorcycles and some electric scooters.

Around 500 people visited EV Driver's Electric Vehicle Experience Day to find out more about electric motoring. Pictured is a BMW i8. Picture: Andy RussellAround 500 people visited EV Driver's Electric Vehicle Experience Day to find out more about electric motoring. Pictured is a BMW i8. Picture: Andy Russell

Mrs Grave said EVs were an ideal second car runabout for two-car families to complement a vehicle for longer journeys.

EV Driver is the region’s biggest and fastest-growing EV charging solution operating around 50pc of the public charging network in the East of England and adding more each month. It is currently working with the East of England Co-op to roll out chargers at its sites.

“We are a one-stop shop for all things EV charging and infrastructure. We supply, install and manage EV charging solutions for home, workplace and commercial.

“We want to put a lot more infrastructure in for EVs – we need sites and willing owners to do it.”

A Nissan Leaf at the experience day. Picture: Andy RussellA Nissan Leaf at the experience day. Picture: Andy Russell

Site owners can buy or rent the charger but earn income from EV users charging from it such as while in a store.

“Electric vehicle drivers just graze when it comes to charging,” she explained.

An 80pc charge at a public charger, enough for around 100 miles in a typical EV costs around £6 to £7 but home charging works out about two pence a mile, compared to around 16p for a conventional combustion engine car.

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