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Electric charging points to outnumber petrol stations by 2020

New research has revealed the number of electric vehicle charging points will outnumber petrol stations as soon as August 2020.

A 75 per cent decline in the number of petrol stations over the last four decades and the increase in electric charging points from a few hundred in 2011 to 4,100 in 2016 is the cause, with Nissan’s research predicting the latter will reach 7,900 by 2020.

At the end of 2015, there were 8,472 fuel stations in the UK ─ a significant drop from the 37,539 in 1970. Assuming the state of decline remains the same, electric will outweigh its combustion engine-friendly counterpart in just three and a half years.

The increased supply of electric charging points no doubt stems from increased demand, with the Government’s Go Ultra Low campaign reporting more than 115,000 electric cars registered in the first quarter of 2016 ─ around one every 13 minutes.

Experts within the Go Ultra Low campaign believe electric power could become more prominent than petrol or diesel vehicles by 2027, with estimates stating there could be 1.3 million electric cars registered each year.

Although there is some way in serving the whole country adequately when it comes to electric vehicle charging points, particularly if you take into consideration the smaller number of fast-charging variants that do the job quicker, 98 per cent of UK motorway services are now covered.

The world’s first petrol station was opened at Aldermaston in Berkshire back in 1919. It is worth pointing out one petrol station can serve a much higher volume of cars than a single charging point so a rapid increase in adoption could spark issues for early adopters.

Nissan GB electric vehicle manager Edward Jones said: ‘As electric vehicle sales take off, the charging infrastructure is keeping pace and paving the way for convenient all-electric driving. Combine that with constant improvements in our battery performance and we believe the tipping point for mass EV uptake is upon us.

“As with similar breakthrough technologies, the adoption of electric vehicles should follow an ‘S-curve’ of demand. A gradual uptake from early adopters accelerates to a groundswell of consumers buying electric vehicles just as they would any other powertrain,” he added.

While the number has increased, it seems electric vehicle suppliers are charging more to use them. Chargemaster introduced a £7.85 monthly tariff for motorists to use its standard charging network and a cost of 9p per kWh for the faster variants.

Meanwhile Ecotricity recently decided to implement a charge of £5 for a 30-minute charge and within days had increased it to £6, citing feedback from its customers.

Nissan is one of the biggest proponents of electric vehicles, with the Nissan Leaf accounting for more electric car sales than any other model. Using a fast charger, the Leaf can see 80 per cent of its 24kWh or 30kWh battery capacity restored in half an hour. Its real-world range is around 100 miles.

In a bid to diminish the issue of range anxiety, Nissan is currently working on increasing the density of its lithium-ion batteries, which could lead to future electric vehicles offering a 150 per cent longer driving range, making longer journeys easier and reducing the need to recharge so often.

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