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‘More EV points than petrol stations by 2020’

Nissan claims that rising EV charge points will overtake declining filling stations.

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Nissan is claiming that by 2020 the UK will offer more public charge points for electric vehicles (EVs) than traditional filling stations.

In a statement that says as much about the decline of fuelling options for motorists as it does about the rise of electric vehicles, the Japanese manufacturer contends ‘that the tipping point for mass EV uptake is upon us.’

Nissan adds that the UK has lost some three-quarters of available filling stations over the past four decades. According to figures from the Energy Institute, in the last ten years alone the number of petrol/diesel filling stations has slid from 9,764 in 2005 to 8,472 in 2015, well over a thousand outlets closing. There are now only four, it is stated, within London’s congestion-charge zone.

Meanwhile the number of public electric charging stations is mushrooming. Figures were first recorded just four years ago in 2012, when there were 913 outlets. According to Energy Institute figures, by the end of 2015 that figure stood at 3,646.

If the trend continues at the same rate, it is predicted that the number of EV charge points will overtake the number of filling stations by August 2020 – just over 100 years after the UK’s first filling station opened at Aldermaston in Berkshire in November 1919.

At the current rate the figures in 2020 will be 7869 filling stations against 7898 charge points, but Nissan – manufacturer of the first mainstream passenger EV to launch, the Leaf – adds that the accelerating adoption of electric cars could see the crossover happen a lot earlier.

Earlier this week industry and government campaign Go Ultra Low stated that the first quarter of 2016 had seen more than 115 new electric cars registered every day, predicting that EVs could become the dominant format of cars sold as early as 2027 with sales of 1.3 million a year.

According to Nissan Motor GB’s EV manager Edward Jones as electric vehicle sales take off, the charging infrastructure is keeping pace. “Combine that with constant improvements in our battery performance and we believe the tipping point for mass EV uptake is upon us,” he says.

“As with similar breakthrough technologies, the adoption of electric vehicles should follow an ‘S-curve’ of demand – a gradual uptake from early adopters accelerates to a groundswell of consumers buying electric vehicles just as they would any other powertrain,” Jones adds.

This uptake is expected to increase as new technologies are advanced – Nissan for example recently announced the joint development of a technology that uses amorphous silicon monoxide (SiO) to increase the energy density of its lithium-ion batteries and could alone increase the driving range of future EVs by 150%.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.