The government’s recent commitment to £380m of investment in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure as part of its net zero policy package is a welcome shift in focus. But let’s not kid ourselves that this is enough to power an EV revolution. Without a widespread upgrade of the country’s charging capabilities driven by public and private capital, a transition to cleaner, greener cars remains some way off. 

The mono focus on meeting EV sales targets, which seems to have been the approach up until this point, was always going to be a route to failure without being matched by a large-scale rollout of charging infrastructure.

Recent statistics suggest that Westminster alone is home to more EV chargers than eight of the UK’s major cities combined, laying bare the extent of our regional charging inequality.

This lack of infrastructure is affecting purchasing intentions for drivers considering getting an electric vehicle in the future. If people do not see enough charging infrastructure in their area, they are less likely to make the switch. This is compounded by the difficulty of finding suitable locations for new charging stations and assembling the necessary land to do so at scale.

This lack of available charging sites is exacerbated by the UK’s rich history of legacy assets. Chargepoint operators have encountered difficulties due to poor grid capacity in remote areas, especially rural locations.

Behavioural change is also needed, with drivers reporting ‘charging anxiety’ when they want to travel long distances in a day; but at the same time, slower charging is better for battery life and more in line with national grid capabilities. A so-called snacking approach, with many slower charges over the course of a day, may be more effective.

All these factors put a premium on land, making finding the right locations and having the right infrastructure, and the means to easily upgrade it, critical to EV uptake. Without addressing these challenges, we’re unlikely to make much progress. Landowners need to be a part of that conversation as they are going to be part of the solution.

Joshua Bond, founder and managing director, Bond Land