The UK electric vehicle charging infrastructure market is estimated to have grown by over 28% in 2015, in terms of value of materials. Our market size estimates exclude any installation/civil engineering work. The electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure market has seen significant growth in response to the introduction of the Plugged In Places grant in 2011, and further Government incentives in 2015. Other key factors supporting market growth include tightening environmental legislation, rising sales of electric vehicles and product development resulting in shorter charge times, while factors affecting the market negatively include uncertainty about future funding beyond 2020, a lack of harmonisation of products and relatively low current sales of electric vehicles – as well as more recently, lower fuel costs.
Commercial users are a key focus for this market. EVs offer significant long term savings and commercial users are more likely to accept higher upfront investment costs to take advantage of lower running costs than domestic users. As a result, the development of fleet charging infrastructure is a priority area. Most electric vehicles are expected to be charged at home or at work. However, a wide infrastructure of publicly accessible points is being developed. Around 35-40% of these are currently located in public car parks and on-street parking to maximise visibility, with commercial premises and garages, particularly car sales forecourts, also offering a significant resource as manufacturers attempt to bolster vehicle sales. In the future, service stations, transport hubs and commercial premises will supply a greater proportion of publicly accessible points as greater emphasis is put on enabling longer journeys and faster charging.
Fast chargers represent the largest market sector by volume, with standard speed chargers also a significant part. Rapid chargers, which are relatively new, more costly and can require upgrades to the electrical supply, remain smaller in terms of volume, but this sector is growing rapidly. Product development is primarily concerned with increased systems integration and monitoring, development of smart grid capabilities and faster, more convenient charging times. Industry participants reflect a range of backgrounds from electrical accessory/component companies to utilities, software specialists, vehicle manufacturers, battery suppliers etc., and new companies entering the market specifically – all attracted by high growth potential in the longer term. Undoubtedly, the supply and distribution structure will evolve as the sector grows, with indications already of some industry rationalisation.
Forecasting market growth of a sector in the early stages of development is extremely difficult. However, given a sustained rise in ownership levels of electric cars, our estimates indicate that the market for EV infrastructure is likely to have doubled by 2020. Industry investment in expanding the network is likely to continue to grow in the short to medium term, although government funding remains uncertain, with emphasis shifting towards provision by other sectors in the longer term. Environmental legislation is likely to continue to tighten, with savings in transport a major factor in reducing carbon emissions, prompting continued movement towards more environmentally friendly methods of travel. Expansion of networks to enable longer journey distances, for example incorporation of more charging points at service stations, is likely to drive growth in the longer term.