After experiencing electric cars in London for two weeks, Addison Lee, a taxi giant has demanded urgent funding of the public charging network.

The Bosses made it clear in September that by 2023 the company would be fully electric. They started this transition with 100 zero-emission Volkswagen ID.4 SUVs.

However, Addison Lee’s damning report has been published after only a few weeks of plugging in vehicles. 

It says the network ‘shows insufficiency, inefficiency, and inconsistency’ that will ultimately be a ‘major barrier to successful industry-wide electrification’. 

London's charging infrastructure not up to scratch: Addison Lee has said the current network of rapid chargers in the capital will not be suitable for industry and drivers to switch to EVs

London’s charger infrastructure inadequate: Addison Lee says the city’s existing rapid charging network is insufficient to allow drivers and industry to transition to EVs.

Addison Lee London, the largest taxi-hire and private hire firm, said that it would phase out combustion engines by year end. The company plans to build a fleet of 4000 electric cars for transporting passengers around London.

The transition, which will be completed seven years before the ban on sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK, is estimated to eventually remove 20,000 tonnes of CO2 from London’s roads each year and contribute to wider efforts to improve air pollution levels.

On Monday 22nd November, 100 Volkswagen ID.4s were added to the fleet. 

Addison Lee used the larger, 77kWh version of VW’s all-electric SUV. It takes approximately seven hours to charge fully from an AC three phase 11 kW point. However, a faster device can charge in as little as 38 minutes.

Two weeks after using EVs in London for the first time, drivers reported ‘key problems’ with London’s charging infrastructure. This is threatening to derail the desire of the public and businesses to switch from combustion engines to EVs.   

Addison Lee employees driving the VW ID.4 EVs - which have a range of up to 322 miles - said rapid chargers have been broken on more than half of occasions they've wanted to use one

Addison Lee employees who drive the VW ID.4 electrics, which can travel up to 322 mi, said that rapid chargers were broken more often than half the times they wanted one.

Surveys of drivers who use them revealed that 93% don’t find it easy to charge their phones through public networks. 

According to the employees, rapid chargers were often broken or damaged (57%), and over 30% (37%) said that it took them more than 30 minutes to find a charger. 

The infrastructure problem we face as a municipality has been highlighted by our experience with the EV rollout thus far 

 Liam Griffin, Addison Lee CEO

According to the company, the public network will be used for all taxi companies and private hire firms as well normal drivers. But with only 600 charging stations currently installed the infrastructure is far from perfect. 

Transport for London has estimated that London will need almost 4,000 rapid EV charging points by 2030, though previous independent research shows that if London’s private hire vehicle and taxi fleets shift to full EVs then approximately 8,500 rapid chargers are required in the capital.

Addison Lee reports fuels calls for a nation-wide charging infrastructure that can experience a boost in growth.

The Society of Motoring Manufacturers and Traders declared earlier in the month that the number of charging points installed is much lower than those sold for electric vehicles. There was only one public charger per 52 EVs. 

Addison Lee bosses say there are real concerns that without improvements to London's charging network, its industry, other businesses and private drivers might be turned off EVs

Addison Lee’s bosses warn that there is a real concern about London’s charging infrastructure. Without improvements, the industry, private drivers and other businesses could be affected by EVs.

These early signs suggest that there may be significant challenges for taxi and private hire firms who want to move to electric fleets. They also limit the appeal of these vehicles to people considering buying a fully-electric car. 

The business says it is willing to share its data and learnings from its transition to help tackle the varying infrastructure challenges its drivers are facing.   

Addison Lee’s CEO, Liam Griffin, said: ‘By pledging to electrify by 2023 we are playing our part in reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality in the capital. Our commitment does not go far enough. 

‘To meet London’s 2030 net zero carbon target, every fleet operating in London needs to transition to electric as quickly as possible.

‘To achieve this requires urgent investment in London’s public charging network. We have seen the immense infrastructure challenges we face in London as a result of our EV deployment so far. 

“Unless we all work together to solve this problem, carbon emissions will not be reduced to a level acceptable in the capital.  

Sales of electric cars accelerate faster than charging point installations. One device is added for each 52 registered vehicles in 2021

A December report found that the growing demand for electric cars does not match the growth in the network of public chargers, as reported by a study published at the start of December.

Analyse by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reveals that the infrastructure of the country is not keeping up with EVs, a decade prior to the ban on new petrol and diesel cars.

Up to the end September, a total 4,109 new public charge points were installed. That compares to 212 181 plug-in vehicle registrations.

This means that only one device will be installed for each 52 electric car on the road. The SMMT claims this is a low rate to enhance the user experience for EV owners.

EV registrations accelerating faster than charge point installations: Motor industry bosses call for a rapid growth in infrastructure to make EVs accessible to more drivers

The pace of EV registrations is faster than the charge point installation: Industry bosses demand a rapid expansion in infrastructure to allow EVs to be more accessible for drivers

This trade association claims that Britain’s charging infrastructure is already behind the demand for electric vehicles.

Histories show that 11 plug in vehicles, either fully electric or hybrid, shared one public charging station at the conclusion of 2019.

However, this ratio was extended by 2020 to one charger per 16 models. This is what industry leaders called a “drain in confidence” in the mass adoption of electric vehicles.

According to various sources, most current EV purchasers are fairly wealthy individuals or households. They can afford expensive models of electric cars and live in homes with off-street parking. This allows them to charge their vehicles at home in a driveway, garage, or designated bay.

However, for a larger number of drivers to switch to electric vehicles, the SMMT needs better solutions for people who don’t have designated parking. This is a third of all homes in England. 

One in six cars in the UK has been registered with plug-ins this year. This is an average figure. Manufacturers will add more EVs in their lineups, which should lead to increased demand.

Some 4,109 new standard public charge points have been installed in 2021 compared to 212,181 new plug-in car registrations. That's just one device to every 52 new electric cars

There were 4,109 additional standard public charger points installed by 2021. That compares with 212,181 plug-in vehicle registrations. This is just one of 52 electric vehicles.

With a third of homes in England without designated off-street parking, millions of motorists will soon be reliant on a public charging network to replenish batteries in their EVs

Millions of drivers will be dependent on public charging networks to recharge their batteries.

The nation is already behind other countries that have implemented charging infrastructures for vehicles.

In fact, Britain’s ratio of plug-in vehicles on the road to standard public chargers has deteriorated to become one of the worst among the top 10 global electric vehicle markets at 16:1 in 2020. 

South Korea, China (5:1) and the Netherlands (9:1) offer better coverage for their electric vehicle drivers. However, Germany is marginally ahead of the UK (17:1).

The current standard public charging point provision is also subject to significant regional differences. 

London has the best ratio of cars to chargers at 10:1 – although this in itself fell from 5:1 in 2019. 

The East of England, however, has the least availability with only one public standard charger per 49 plug-in cars. 

Wales has a higher ratio than the national average of 12.1, while Scotland is 17:1. 

London has the best ratio of cars to chargers at 10:1 – although this in itself fell from 5:1 in 2019

London has the best ratio of cars to chargers at 10:1 – although this in itself fell from 5:1 in 2019

At the end of 2019, 11 plug-in vehicles - either full electric or hybrid (Mini Countryman PHEV pictured) - potentially shared a public charger. By the end of 2020, the ratio extended to one device per 16 cars

There were 11 fully electric, or hybrid, plug-in vehicle options at the end 2019 – which could be shared with a public charger (Mini Countryman PPHEV pictured). The ratio will increase to one charger per 16 cars by 2020.

According to the trade organization, “If these inequalities aren’t addressed, it will hamstring vast portions of the country’s ability to deliver zero-emission motoring with all that air quality, carbon saving, and benefits this delivers, as well the benefits drivers can reap from lower EV running cost,”

Recent months have seen the government promise a variety of funding and legislative amendments to improve the network.

It has allocated a Rapid Charging Fund of £950million for the installation of the fastest charging devices, a further £620million for ‘targeted’ zero-emission vehicle grants and infrastructure announced in the Net Zero Strategy, and last week’s commitment that all new build homes will include an electric vehicle charging point.

Yet the SMMT says this is still insufficient to keep up with consumer demand for EVs and called on the government to take regulatory action to boost public charge point provision, with binding targets for delivery, commensurate with the targets for vehicle manufacturers to deliver products, to ensure installation rates accelerate.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ”Those who can’t have their own home charge point need the confidence that they can still charge as conveniently as they can refuel. 

“A declining ratio of public charges points to cars will sap that trust.”

“Recent government funding of infrastructure is welcome, but there’s more to be done by the private sector in public charge points across the country.

He said: “Decarbonizing road transport is crucial if we want to address climate change, but it requires a framework to compell all sectors to match automotive’s investment to help consumers reduce their carbon footprint.


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