Charging infrastructure – barrier to electrifying fleets

Charging a van

We’ve recently shared a poll to identify what is the main barrier to electrifying your commercial vehicles.


CV poll


As you can see, ‘Charging infrastructure’ has received 48% of the votes, followed by ‘High upfront cost’ 28% and ‘Lack of E-LCV availability’ 12% which received the same number of votes as ‘Range anxiety’12%.

Our Commercial Vehicle Specialist Kellie Davis will address each barrier individually, starting with ‘Charging Infrastructure’, which can hopefully answer some of the questions you may have. In the meantime, you can also speak to Kellie if there’s anything you would like to discuss regarding your commercial fleet.


Kellie, can you tell us more about the current infrastructure and what is being done to improve it?

On this poll, this is the one I would have ticked. Infrastructure is good in some places and almost non-existent in others so you can almost say a postcode lottery situation. The councils in some areas are great in the race for Zero emission whilst some are dragging their heels somewhat.

The good news is that the number of charging points is constantly growing and to date there are more than 50,900 connectors in 19,099 locations around the UK and only in March, there were 1140 new connectors added. The number of rapid chargers is also growing – 12,121 connectors in 3,363 locations.

With regards to fleets, having more chargers solves one of the problems, however it’s important to consider the fleets’ charging needs such as charge point accessibility. For example, kerbside charging is a key barrier as many drivers don’t have the option to install an off-road charging. If you are in a privileged position and can install a charge point in your home or are lucky enough to have the option to charge at your workplace/depot and these are readily available as when you need them then that’s great, if not then having to rely on the public infrastructure comes with its challenges. You can carry out your daily task but with changes to your normal routine and with a plan B and C.

In terms of what is being done to improve the current infrastructure, in March the Government published its Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy and the ambitious are to make charging an EV cheaper and easier than refuelling your vehicle with petrol or diesel. The Government aims to build further 300,000 chargers by 2030 which will increase the current network by around 10 times, and it will spend £1.6 billion not only to increase the charging points, but to make charging fast, reliable and easy for the consumers. There’s also a new focus to provide support to drivers without private driveways.

And although these are all positive news, it’s important to stress the importance further on providing an equally distributed rollout and making charging more accessible to the drivers’ different needs. One of my biggest bugbears when looking at the charging infrastructure available is that most spaces are designed with cars in mind, and this may pose some issues when parking an LCV.


What would be your advice to fleets who want to reduce their carbon footprint?

It is very important to find the right partner and charging supplier.

Having the right fleet partner by your side can really help the transition to go smoothly. From planning to implementation, you can receive guidance which can save you a lot of stress and time. The fleet partner should also assist you with implementing the infrastructure for both workplace and home charging as this is key to reduce downtime and keep your operations going.

Also consider Plug-in Hybrids. It might be difficult to electrify all vehicles in one go due to the different organisational requirements so PHEVs can be a great low emission alternative whilst the UK infrastructure is continuously improving.