The Road to EV Charging Adoption

POSTED BY Nick Maynard

Success of EVs Dependent on Charging Infrastructure

While EVs (Electric Vehicles) have been developed since 1884, when the first production electric car was launched, it is only in the last five years that these EVs have become a genuine contender for consumers when picking their next vehicle. However, the future success and viability of EVs is largely dependent on the infrastructure to charge them.

A Multitude of Charging Stations

There are numerous different form factors for charging stations. These will be introduced and analysed below.
  • Home Wallbox: This type of charger is generally fitted at home, so a user can charge their EV overnight. These types of chargers require parking which is directly next to the property. This is not an issue with most houses, but flats/apartments frequently lack this. As such, ensuring that those in urban environments can still charge vehicles is a big imperative for infrastructure roll-outs. 
  • Public Charging: There are various types of public chargers in service. Most tend to be featured in destinations, such as car parking areas, restaurants, and fuelling stations.
  • Workplace Charging: This is where charging is made available at a place of work, either to charge personal vehicles of staff, or leased company vehicles. 
  • Fleet Charging: This will involve the charging of commercial vehicles, including vans, buses and trucks. This will often happen at depots, and will require more heavy-duty chargers than other use cases, given the higher battery capacities of many commercial vehicles. 
A Design in Evolution

As EVs become more common, changes in their design are having an impact on the charging infrastructure that is required. For example, Hyundai and Kia have launched a new EV platform, called E-GMP, which has powered cars such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6. This platform enables these EVs to theoretically charge at a rate of 62 miles in 5 minutes. However, this requires a charging rate of 220 kW. The Porsche Taycan also supports this, as will many other vehicles over the coming months and years. The issue is that at the time of writing, there were only 15 chargers capable of this charging rate within the whole of the UK, with none at all in Northern Ireland or Wales. 

Charging and Plug Standards a Challenge to Adoption

As such, it is not just the number of chargers, it is the level of charging they support that is also important. Ultimately, EVs have difficult standards to meet – not only in terms of charging speed, but the actual charging technology involved. Manufacturers need to come together and agree on common technologies in order drive the market forward.

When discussing a lack of standards in the charging market, something as simple as what plugs are used to access charging in different vehicles is an issue. This is both a problem internationally and in specific markets. The fact that different cables need to be used for AC and DC charging means that there is a certain amount of user confusion. It also means that there is a lot of complexity in terms of which charging stations cars can use. In practice, this often means vehicles carrying and being sold with multiple cables. There are however signs that this fraught issue is reducing in terms of difficulty.

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  • The global transaction volume of in-vehicle payments will exceed 4.7 billion by 2026, up from just 87 million in 2021.
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  • Vehicle fuelling will be the most common use case over the next 5 years; accounting for around 48% of total in-vehicle payment transactions by volume. This growth is being seen as the natural progression for fuel payments.