“The electric car is being stalled by a lack of charging network”

It’s not range anxiety, but charging anxiety that’s stopping electric cars really taking off, says Steve Fowler

Opinion EV charging

I want to own an electric car – I really do. And I suspect there are plenty more people who feel the same way: that instant torque delivery, the eerie silence, the efficiency and never having to visit those miserable money-grabbing blokes behind the counter of my local filling station! Yes, please.

So what’s stopping me? It’s not range anxiety any more – I think I can get my head around that, especially as I believe we’re on the cusp of a battery power breakthrough. The Nissan Leaf will get a 30kWh battery boost at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, which will take range from around 80 miles (if you’re lucky) to closer to 150. And others will follow. 

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And as we’ve revealed already, Audi will also be revealing its e-tron quattro concept at Frankfurt – a sensational-looking all-electric SUV with a range of over 310 miles. We’ll see it soon as an all-electric Q6, although its price will probably be quite some way north of the Leaf’s.

Tesla’s gigafactory will also bring power pack prices down and range up – and that’ll be mirrored around the world and across the car industry.

UK plug-in car grant extended to February 2016

So that’s great news – we’ll be able to go further on every charge. But what’s stopping me getting an EV is the snail’s pace at which the charging infrastructure is improving. At some stage, somewhere, I will need to recharge. And I won’t always be at home.

Politicians have spent years crowing about how much is going to be invested in charging points around the country, but I haven’t noticed a massive crop sprouting up – just the odd one or two.

And from our experience with our electric Kia Soul, as more and more EVs get bought – up 211 per cent so far this year – finding a free (or working) charging point is becoming more and more of a challenge.

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