'We need to get our infrastructure ready for an electric-car revolution'

John McIlroy says upgrading the UK's electric car charging network will be key to keeping the country moving come 2030

Opinion Charging infrastructure

This week’s Top Story details how Volkswagen is still fighting to develop a more affordable version of its ID. electric cars, starting with a small SUV that could cost as little as £17,000 before any discounts or the plug-in car grant. It’s unlikely to reach dealerships until the end of 2025. But even by then, will the UK be ready for it?

Last week the Transport Select Committee warned MPs of the potential for ‘blackspots’ in more remote areas of the country, where drivers might struggle to find electricity to keep them on the move.

The points made echoed those of Kia’s UK president Paul Philpott when he spoke to us recently. He described the situation as already being “critical” because the impending ban on the sale of combustion-engined cars is “only eight and a half years away”.

“It’s all very well having clusters of chargers on the M6 and M1,” Philpott told us, “but what about people who want to buy and drive EVs in North Wales? Government support is needed to make sure we have enough chargers, and on trunk roads across the UK.”

We think he has a point. The car manufacturers have been given a huge target to reach by 2030, but the glut of new EVs – including, Volkswagen hopes, more affordable ones – is proof that they are responding. Consumers, too, are becoming ever more prepared
to consider switching to pure-electric mobility.

What’s left is the infrastructure – and Philpott is right in suggesting that relying on private enterprise alone won’t suffice. We need to get ready for an electric-car revolution, in the same way that we needed to roll out the internet two decades ago. The patchy broadband still endured by several areas of the country should be a lesson on how legislation (and yes, public finances) may be required, along with market forces, to ensure that all of the UK keeps moving.

Check out our complete guide to electric car charging in the UK here...

Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

Recommended

“Reports of the death of the internal combustion engine are wildly exaggerated”
Opinion - combustion engines
Opinion

“Reports of the death of the internal combustion engine are wildly exaggerated”

Andy Palmer thinks that the internal combustion engine, in partnership with e-fuels, still has a big role to play if the application is right
12 Jan 2024
“Faster manufacturing can bring a new wave of cheap EVs from Europe’s big players”
Opinion – cheap EV manufacturing
Opinion

“Faster manufacturing can bring a new wave of cheap EVs from Europe’s big players”

The Chinese may yet falter: quicker, more efficient production could see prices of European electric cars fall
19 Oct 2023
‘MP Greg Smith is fighting for motorists instead of against them’
Opinion - Greg Smith
Opinion

‘MP Greg Smith is fighting for motorists instead of against them’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler has met many politicians throughout his career, but MP Greg Smith is a little bit different
30 Aug 2023
‘Modern car tech is creating more problems than solutions’
Opinion - car tech
Opinion

‘Modern car tech is creating more problems than solutions’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler isn’t convinced that every 'innovation' is an improvement over good old-fashioned simplicity
23 Aug 2023

Most Popular

New Renault 4 will go 4x4 to get ahead in the baby EV SUV class
Renault 4EVER concept car in 1962 4L paint - front 3/4 static
News

New Renault 4 will go 4x4 to get ahead in the baby EV SUV class

The forthcoming Renault 4 is likely to offer a four-wheel-drive option, helping it to stand out in the market for baby all-electric SUVs
27 Feb 2024
Dacia heads for VW Golf and Ford Focus territory with new C-Neo that’s definitely ‘not an SUV’
Dacia badge
News

Dacia heads for VW Golf and Ford Focus territory with new C-Neo that’s definitely ‘not an SUV’

As big names vacate the traditional C-segment, Dacia sees an opportunity for its new petrol family car
27 Feb 2024
New MG2 will beat Volkswagen to the baby electric car market
MG badge
News

New MG2 will beat Volkswagen to the baby electric car market

MG has confirmed it is working on an entry-level electric car to rival Citroen e-C3 and new Fiat Panda
29 Feb 2024