UK Power Networks has announced a significant expansion of the Electric Vehicle (EV) charging network in London, the East, and South East regions, with an addition of almost 2,700 charge points in the last year.

This update coincides with the upcoming National Drive Electric Week (September 25-October 23), a period when many are considering the switch to EVs to reduce their carbon emissions. The total number of charge points in these regions, serviced by UK Power Networks, now exceeds 9,000. The company, responsible for the regional power network, is preparing the grid for the integration of new charging points. By 2030, they expect to see 4.5 million EVs in their service areas, aligning with the UK’s goal of banning new petrol and diesel car sales to achieve Net Zero by 2050.

UK Power Networks manages forty percent of all charge points in Great Britain, a figure nearly double that of any other network operator.

The Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders reports that electric vehicles accounted for 17% of vehicle sales in June, marking a record high since December (23.4%). The UK now has approximately 594,000 EVs, with about 154,000 in areas covered by UK Power Networks. This statistic does not include standard home EV chargers, which can be installed independently and connected to the home mains supply.

Shira Lappin, innovation project lead at UK Power Networks, emphasized the importance of collaboration with various stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition to Net Zero, making charging infrastructure accessible to all.

Lappin notes a 42% growth in charge points within their areas from April 2020 to April 2021. Despite this progress, there remains a substantial demand for more EVs and charging points, a challenge the company is addressing through continued innovation.

A key consideration is the power consumption of EV chargers; a single 50kW rapid charger consumes as much power as a block of 25 flats. With increasing EV sales and charger installations, the need for ‘smart’ electricity network solutions grows.

Earlier in the year, UK Power Networks launched the Green Recovery programme, investing £66m in 86 green energy infrastructure projects. This includes the installation of over 600 ultra-fast 150kW chargers at 11 motorway service areas. These initiatives, combined with industry collaboration, aim to build the infrastructure necessary to encourage EV adoption.

UK Power Networks is recognized as a leader in developing smart, flexible electricity grids for a Net Zero future and offers guidance to local authorities, businesses, and individuals on connecting charge points and planning new fleets.

As the company responsible for maintaining the region’s power network, it’s UK Power Networks’ job to ensure the local grid is ready for the connection of new charging points. It estimates there will be 4.5 million EVs in the areas it serves by 2030, when sales of new petrol and diesel cars are banned as the UK strives to meet Net Zero by 2050.

Forty per cent of all charge points in Great Britain are connected UK Power Networks’ local grids, almost double the volume of any other network operator.

Data from the Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders adds that approximately one in six vehicles (17%) sold in June were electric – the highest market share since December (23.4%). There are now about 594,000 EVs in the UK, with an estimated 154,000 in the areas served by UK Power Networks. These numbers don’t include standard home EV chargers which can be installed by an electrician and run off the home mains supply.

Shira Lappin, innovation project lead at UK Power Networks, said: “It’s important that we work with local and central government, charge point operators, customers and other stakeholders to ensure that the transition to Net Zero is a seamless one and everyone has access to the charging infrastructure they need”.

“In the 12-month period between April 2020 and April this year, the number of charge points in our areas grew by 42%. However, there’s still a lot of work to do to meet the growing demand for EVs and charge points, and we’ll continue to be at the forefront of innovation to get there.”

The company continues to innovate to meet the challenge of new EVs. A single 50kW ‘rapid charger’ uses the same amount of power as a block of 25 flats. The more EVs sold, and the more chargers installed, the greater the need to create ‘smart’ solutions on the electricity network.

Earlier this year, UK Power Networks launched its Green Recovery programme, an unprecedented opportunity to address climate change by kickstarting 86 shovel-ready green energy infrastructure projects. In total, £66m is being invested, including enabling 11 motorway service areas to install more than 600 ultra-fast 150kW chargers. This investment, combined with collaborative work across the sector, aims to create the new infrastructure that inspires customers with the confidence to switch to an EV.

UK Power Networks is ranked number one in the Smart Grid Index for its development of smart, flexible electricity grids to support a Net Zero future. It also advises local authorities, companies and individuals how to best connect charge points, and plan new fleets.

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