A survey by Zap-Map in partnership with the Association for Renewable Energy & Clean Technology (REA) has found that EVs and the public charging network are vital for essential travel and keeping key workers on the move during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey which took data from over 3,000 EV users found that, despite EV use falling significantly in line with the overall reduction in travel, 83% of users are still reliant on their EV for essential travel. Of these, just under a quarter (24%) identify as key workers with the majority of these (36%) working in healthcare with others working across a range of sectors including utilities, food delivery, transport, public safety and education.
Amongst those surveyed, 29% are still using the public and manufacturer-owned charging network. This number increases when looking at key workers, with just under half (47%) reliant on the public charging network. Although this is a reduction in the pre-COVID proportion of usage (which is more than 90%), it demonstrates how important the charging infrastructure continues to be for many EV drivers.
Whilst the vast majority of those surveyed were satisfied with the public and manufacturer-owned network, 21% of users reported experiencing some issues, an increase in normal reporting rates. This number increased to 28% amongst key workers, most likely due to this group utilising the infrastructure more frequently. The two key lockdown-related issues cited are either delays to chargers being repaired and inaccessibility of charge points where a site has been closed or is now behind a barrier.
Zap-Map has also been working closely with the network operators and incorporating direct feedback from EV drivers to identify and highlight the chargers clearly on the map. As it stands, 430 charging points, out of a total of over 18,000 across the UK (2%), have been identified as temporarily non-accessible due to lockdown measures.
In light of the issues identified in the survey, the REA has contacted the Government asking them to classify public and manufacturer-owned EV charging maintenance personnel as key workers. The REA and Zap-Map are also working with the Office for Low Emission Vehicles to fully understanding issues relating to site accessibility.
Dr Nina Skorupska CBE FEI, Chief Executive of the REA said: “The data shows just how robust and reliable EVs and the public and manufacturer-owned charging networks are, even in the midst of a global pandemic. This is a testament to the hard work and commitment of the industry who keep the networks running.
“With the lockdown set to continue it is important that the public has access to publicly owned and operational charge points. We are committed to working with OLEV to ensure any problems are identified as quickly as possible.”
Dr. Ben Lane, CTO and Joint MD, Zap-Map said: “EVs and the public charging infrastructure are playing a fundamental role during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing many users to fulfil essential travel needs and keeping key workers across a wide range of roles on the road. Zap-Map continues to work hard to provide up to date information for EV drivers on public charging points across the UK, including highlighting COVID related issues as reported by users and network operators”