New data released by the Department for Transport shows that the number of charging stations for electric cars grew 37% in 2013. However, there is a growing North-South divide regarding which regions have access to the most and least.

The country has added 7,600 more chargers to its network over the past twelve months. That brings it to 28,375 plug-in points.

Data shows, however, that London has seen a faster expansion in its charging infrastructure than other regions. London now boasts 102 devices per 100,000 inhabitants, while the North West, on the other hand, only 24 have been added to its total.

There is growing concern that infrastructure may not be keeping pace with the increasing number of electric vehicles on the roads. One new public device has been added for each 24 zero-emission cars registered in the last year. 

The UK's public charging network for electric cars is growing, but more so in some regions than others, with an expanding divide between the North and South

Public charging networks for electric vehicles in the UK are growing. However, there is a widening gap between North and South.

Data shows that 1,276 out of 7,600 new devices in 2021 were “rapid” chargers. These offer fast charging and the longest sessions.

This was a growth of a third compared to the start of the previous year and takes the rapid network to 5,156 charge points – around 18 per cent of the UK’s total public charging infrastructure.  

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps celebrated the news in a Twitter post, stating: ‘As we head towards a cleaner transport future, we’re boosting green jobs & making the switch to EVs easier than ever before!’

This chart shows the growth in the UK's public charging infrastructure in the last 7 years. An additional 7,600 new charger installations have been added to the country's network

The following chart illustrates the increase in public charging infrastructure within the UK over the past seven years. The country has added 7,600 chargers to its network.

This second graph shows the growth in 'rapid' devices, which offer the fastest charging speeds. Some 18% of the UK's total public network is these faster chargepoints, the DfT says

This graph also shows an increase in “rapid” devices that offer faster charging times. These faster charging points account for 18% in the UK’s total public system, according to the DfT.

Official data however shows a growing gap between areas with access to the most and least public charging points.

The availability of devices in London increased significantly between 2020 and 2021. It was 69 devices for every 100,000 people at the end, and then it rose to 102 devices by this year. 

This means that the capital has twice the number of devices available per resident than in the next-best region of Scotland, with 52 points per 100,000 people. 

Scotland’s chargers are the fastest, surpassing London which has only 12.9 devices per 100,000 population. 

Northern Ireland, on the other end, has experienced a slower pace of network expansion. Public charge points numbers have risen from 17 to 18 for every 100,000 residents in the past 12 months. 

Rapid devices: It is only 1.2 for every 100,000 residents. 

According to the DfT paper, the uneven geographical distribution of charging device is due to certain UK local authorities biding for funding to install new charging devices. Other countries are not able to do this. 

Additionally, it stated: “Most of this infrastructure was market-driven with individuals charging networks and other businesses (such hotels) choosing the locations to install them.  

Availability of devices in London grew significantly in 2021, up from 69 devices per 100,000 of population at the end of 2020 to 102 by the start of this year

In 2021 the availability of devices increased in London, from 69 per 100,000 population at 2020 to 102 in the year ahead.

This data shows the number of total public charging devices in each region per 100k people. It shows that London is miles ahead of the rest of the country in terms of availability

These data show the total number of public charging devices per 100k residents. This data shows London has a far greater availability rate than the rest of the nation.

This chart shows only rapid device availability in each region, which shows that EV owners in Scotland have the best access to the fastest chargepoints. Northern Ireland lags far behind for both total and rapid device availability

This graph shows just rapid device availability for each region. It shows that EV users in Scotland have access to the fastest charging points. Both total and rapid availability of EVs is poor in Northern Ireland. 

Concerns grow for a lagging charging infrastructure 

This report is a result of industry leaders warning MPs earlier this month that there was an increasing North-South divide when it comes to electric vehicle adoption. The wealthier south postcodes dominate where EVs can be purchased, but they also have greater access to public charging stations. 

The UK has registered 190,728 electric cars in the past year. 7.600 chargers were installed during the 12 month period, which means that one charger is available for each 25 electric cars. Rapid chargers are one device per 150 EVs that will be registered in 2021.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles are also included in the number of vehicles that have been registered and can use public chargers. That’s one public charging point for 40 vehicles.

In the UK, charging devices are distributed unevenly. Some charging device funding has been granted by the Government to local authorities, while others are not.

Department for Transport 

Mike Hawes (chief executive of Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) stated that government should address these issues in a’medium-term’ or it might risk Boris Johnson’s ‘levelling down’ efforts.

KPMG UK analyst Ben Foulser said that as electric car adoption increases, it is encouraging to see more charging stations installed. 

“But it is clear that delivery rates will need to rise in order to meet the growing demand and convince other people to switch to electric vehicles.

“It is also crucial that public funds used to reduce risk investment in the private sector are targeted and effective. 

“This involves the development of attractive commercial portfolios that include rural and small sites. This will enable a fair transition to zero emission mobility throughout the UK.  

Ranking of the best and worst public charging networks 

For the past four years, electric car owners have made their opinions on the public charging infrastructure known in Zap-Map’s annual survey. The latest edition was released December 2021 and received feedback from over 3,000 drivers.

This latest edition, produced by UK’s top EV mapping company, has been awarded a Best EV Charging network’ accreditation to the highest scorer and an EV Driver Recommended badge for the top three providers.

Every rating is an average score that EV drivers give for their satisfaction with the network they use frequently. This is used to rank the network from a maximum five-star scale. 

A further four factors were considered when assessing their satisfaction with network services: reliability, affordability, user-friendliness, cost, and facility.

In first place overall this year is InstaVolt – the rapid charging network scored particularly highly for reliability and ease of use, securing its ‘Best EV Charging Network’ badge. 

After being outscored by Tesla’s Supercharger network, the second-placed spot was taken by it in last year’s survey.

But, Tesla’s service was omitted in the 2021 results because Zap-Map currently ranks only networks that are accessible to all EV drivers, and not customers. That is what happens for US brands.

However, Elon Musk has stated that it would soon open its “superchargers” to all EV owners.

InstaVolt, which has around 650 chargers up and down the country, was rated the best network in the UK in a survey of 3,000 EV drivers

InstaVolt’s network of around 650 electric vehicle chargers across the UK was chosen by over 3,000 motorists to be the UK’s top-rated network.

InstaVolt provides devices at popular public sites, such as McDonald's and Costa car parks as well as at motorway services

InstaVolt offers devices at public places such as McDonald’s, Costa and other car parks.

InstaVolt currently has more than 650 charging stations in Britain. Many are available through partnerships with companies like McDonald’s and Costa Coffee.

The company has committed to installing 10,000 charging stations over the next ten years. 

Alex Earl from Zap-Map commented: “With increasing competition within the charge point operator marketplace, effectively holding on to the top spot in this market is an impressive result that the InstaVolt staff should be very proud. 

“It is a testament to their laser-focused customer experience on reliability and customer service, which continues to be a benchmark for other companies to emulate.”

Adrian Keen is the chief executive officer at InstaVolt. He stated that claiming top honors as Best EV Charging network is testament to InstaVolt’s ethos, which is to make charging easy and reliable for all EV drivers. 

“We will not be resting on the laurels in 2022. We plan to invest more in smarter technology, install faster chargers and create new partnerships. EV adoption has reached an all-time high.

MFG EV Power - a newcomer in 2021 - took second spot in the standings and shared Zap-Map's 'EV Driver Recommended' network award with Osprey

MFG EV Power – a brand new company in 2021 – occupied the second place in the standings. They shared Osprey’s EV Driver Recommended network award from Zap-Map with Osprey

MFG EV Power, and Osprey are the second and third most recommended rapid-charging networks.  

MFG EV Power, a brand new network has added charging stations to its petrol station network and is now on the List. 

Gridserve is also new to the 2021 standing. It has launched its electric forecourt at Braintree. Last year, Gridserve announced that it will build a dedicated EV charging station at Gatwick. This is the first international airport in the world.

Gridserve late last year announced it is creating a bespoke EV charging hub at Gatwick Airport

Gridserve announced late last year that it will create a unique EV charging station at Gatwick Airport

Gridserve is currently in the process of updating every Electric Highway charge point at motorway services having bought it from Ecotricity in 2021

Gridserve has been updating all Electric Highway Charge Points at Motorway Services. It purchased them from Ecotricity 2021.

British firm also purchased Ecotricity’s motorway charging network, which it is currently upgrading and rebranding as Gridserve Electric Highway.

The network was fifth in the overall ranking, and Ecotricity’s legacy charge points (around 100 charging devices located at service stations along motorways that are not yet replaced by Gridserve) were bottom with a rating of two stars. 

ChargePlace Scotland – which came in 13th place overall – took first place for cost, thanks to many of its extensive network of rapid charge points being free to use.  

Melanie Shufflebotham, co-founder of Zap-Map, said: ‘EV drivers are clear about the factors that make for a good charging experience, namely reliability and ease of use – and these should be key priorities for the UK’s public charging networks.

The Zap-Map survey reveals that although some people are making progress, other individuals still have a lot to do. 

“As we shift from early adopters to mass EV adoption,”  


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