Too few chargers for electric vehicles

Just over a tenth of electric car charging points needed in the UK have been built so far. Only 704 of the 4,700 expected by the end of the year are in place and two-thirds of towns with a population of over 150,000 do not have any public charging infrastructure.

David Martell, of charging supplier Chargemaster, said the lack of points can be very stressful for drivers. The Department of Transport said it plans to install 9,000 points by 2013.

The government had expected that 8,600 electric cars with lithium ion batteries will be sold by the end of this year and set a target ratio of 1.8 electric vehicles for every publicly available charging point. By that reckoning, there would need to be more than 4,700 recharging facilities before 2012.

‘Range anxiety’

However, research conducted for the BBC has shown that there are currently only 704 publicly available charging points. Delays in the creation of a public charging infrastructure have been caused at a local level by difficulties in laying power cables.

The Department of Transport said it had provided up to £30m to kick-start installation in ‘test-bed’ areas. There are about 30 million vehicles on British roads – 3,000 of which are electric vehicles.

Mr Martell said many electric car drivers suffer from "range anxiety", which concerns their fear that they run the risk of running out of power due to a lack of charging points. "It’s a concern. It’s a barrier to some people," he said. Experts say that nearly two million of the cars on Britain’s roads will be electric powered by 2020.