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Government must focus on rapid chargers for fleets, says new report

Rapid charging points for electric vehicles are a more cost-effective way to reduce air pollution than slower on-street units, despite the latter being cheaper to install, new research has revealed.

Rapid charger

Rapid charging is more cost effective for adding capacity, and enables fleets to use EVs, Analytically Driven claims.

Speaking at a recent Westminster Forum event, Dr Rebecca Driver, director of Analytically Driven, said a network of rapid chargers would enable longer-distance drivers, particularly fleets, to use electric vehicles, in turn offering bigger improvements in air quality than moving private motorists across.

Rapid chargers offer around an 80% charge in roughly half an hour, enabling operators to double-shift vehicles if drivers top up during a lunch break. Analytically Driven’s research for Addison Lee had shown that, while only 7% of journeys are 25 miles more, these account for 47% of the UK’s total mileage. With Addison Lee drivers averaging 144 miles per shift, converting just one of the company’s fleet to electric is could offer air quality improvements similar to ten private motorists doing the same.

The company also discovered that 50kW rapid chargers are a more cost-effective way to add capacity to London’s infrastructure than the slower and more common 7kW points. Investing in a 50kW network would have the per-kilowatt capacity of the capital’s charging points compared to adding slower units.

Dr Driver is calling for the Government to focus on faster charging to accelerate uptake of electric vehicles among fleets, explaining that forecasts for the network were inadequate: “The calculations I did suggest that just to support Addison Lee’s fleet, which is 4,200 vehicles, you would need 330 [rapid chargers],” she said.

“To switch 25% of [London’s] taxi and private hire fleet of 108,700 vehicles, you would need 2,435, and for the entire fleet you would need 8,540. Current plans for London are 75 by the end of this year, and by the end of 2020, 300 rapid chargers. So not even enough to support Addison Lee.”

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Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.