The continuing shortage of EV chargers: a cause for concern, or just a simple bump in the road?

shortage of EV chargers

In recent times, EV cars have offered an impressive increase in battery life levels. Thus enabling drivers to make their way from London to Manchester, for example, without having to worry about a recharge. Not so long ago, most of us would have sneered at the prospect of such a journey in a battery-powered car (somewhere around the 200-mile mark, in case you’re wondering). But in this increasingly green decade, this pipe dream is now a very definite reality.

For many of the EV nay-sayers, however, the distance the car can travel isn’t the point. Where once the length of the journey was the major sticking point – and the oft-cited reason for sticking to the diesel VW Passat for the time being, thank you very much – now the problem has more to do with what you do once you get to Manchester. You can go on a tour of Old Trafford if you want, check out Salford Quays, or maybe pay a visit to the Whitworth Art Gallery. All very nice…but where would I charge up my EV before the journey back to London?

It’s not fair to single out Manchester here, because the EV chargers shortage is felt in all parts of the country. With more and more motorists getting the green message and going all-electric, the provision of EV chargers, especially ones available to the public, has been unable to keep pace. We’ve moved over to EVs with all the speed of a cheetah in a hurry, but the creation of charging points has been slower than a tortoise. A sleepy tortoise. A sleepy tortoise with several suitcases… get the picture.

As so often seems the case, there are several reasons for this unwelcome development. One of them is the way that the switch to EVs has been so rapid. A few years ago, analysts would have banked on the fact that us Britons, notoriously cynical and mistrustful by nature, would have adopted electric cars far more slowly. This hasn’t been the case at all. We still have plenty of petrolheads, of course, some of whom have clung on to their cars like lifebelts on the deck of the Titanic, but many others have seen the light. The green light, that is.

Ready to take the plunge, but the pool has no water yet

We now have lots and lots of people all ready and waiting to head to their local Tesla showroom, or at the very least to a second-hand Nissan Leaf dealer. They’re perfectly willing to fork out for an electric car, but the absence of enough chargers is holding them back. And while the government is committed to Net Zero and ready to invest more in the infrastructure, a global shortage of vital components and materials, including lithium, is holding them back. Just at the worst possible time, too.

The facts make for depressing reading. In March this year, the respected Automotive News Europe revealed that, if current rates of car sales and charger builds continue, ten years from now the number of available chargers will be only a quarter of what we need. It’s not difficult to imagine a time when charging points will be jealously guarded by motorists who are unwilling to take their car away from the only electricity supply in the street. Those of us who can remember desperate parents fighting over Cabbage Patch Dolls in the toy shops will be hoping to avoid an all-too-familiar scenario.

In addition to the shortage of materials, there’s also a noticeable skills shortage to contend with. Fewer and fewer school and university leavers want to get involved with vehicle maintenance, and many who do won’t be sufficiently qualified to work on more technologically advanced electric and hybrid vehicles, let alone those hydrogen cars that are likely to become an increasingly common sight on our roads. Most EVs that are currently in existence are still under manufacturers’ warranties, so the skills shortage isn’t as big an issue now as it’s liable to become very soon.

It’s worth noting that, although we focus most of our attention on the situation in the UK, the lack of EV chargers is a problem also being felt in many other countries. Think tanks in Germany, Italy and France have all been trying to think of ways to improve the infrastructure for electric vehicles, but as with Britain, the demand for greener cars is outstripping the provision of charging points. The situation in the USA isn’t any better, either.

Watch this space, folks, because this is a difficult situation that might only get worse for a while to come. You have been warned.


Founded by Aneela Rose in 2004, Rose Media Group is a highly respected B2B PR specialist based in West Sussex.

Aneela Rose

Aneela Rose

Aneela Rose is Head of PR at Rose Media Group overseeing all research and media related activity across B2B and B2C.

Share this post:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

You may also like...

We love to chat, good job we’re in communications.

Send us a message and we’ll take it from there. Alternatively give us a call on 01444 241 341