'Urgent attention' needed to increase electric vehicle charging points

Many regions of the UK are "falling short" when it comes to providing charging points for electric vehicles, new analysis has indicated.

Currently there are almost 17,000 people for every publicly available charge point, research by HSBC found.

The North East of England has the highest level of provision, with 664 charge points across the area, representing one for every 3,931 people

Scotland was next best, with 743 charge points across the country - meaning there is one for every 7,127 people.

But only two other areas, Northern Ireland and the South East of England, had higher than average levels.

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And in Wales there are just 31 publicly available charge points - one for every 98,806 people.

The UK Government wants to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, with Scotland aiming to do this eight years earlier by 2032.

But while about 47,000 electric vehicles were registered in 2017, only 173 new publicly available charge points were installed last year, according to HSBC.

Scott McClurg, head of energy and sustainability for HSBC Corporate Banking, said "urgent attention" must be given to the number of charge points available, as more and more people switch to electric vehicles.

He stated: "Charge points are a vital barometer for the health of the electric vehicle market. Infrastructure is fundamental to the successful transition to emission-free driving and so far the UK is falling short in many regions.

"While the major forecourt owners plan how to balance rising demand for charge points with the ongoing need for petrol and diesel pumps, there is an opportunity for private investors to plug the charge point gap across the UK."

He added: "National Grid recently announced plans to overcome the challenge of long-distance electric vehicle travel. Urgent attention must now be given to local, urban solutions as more consumers and businesses transition to electric vehicles.

"If Scotland is to shift to electric vehicles in the long term, the overall volume of chargepoints has to improve across the board.

"While there are clear opportunities to meet rising demand through the private sector, local authorities and central government are also looking closely at this space to ensure the right infrastructure is in place."

HSBC has installed more than 40 electric vehicle charge points at its offices around the UK, with the company planning for more to be fitted this year.