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Charging ahead: a positive 2024 for UK EV drivers
By Daniel Forsberg, marketing manager for EVSE at global vehicle charging brand CTEK

2024 will be an exciting year of change for the UK’s growing numbers of Electric Vehicle (EV) drivers, with huge numbers of new public charge points installed and more charge points working more of the time.

EV drivers will no longer hope that a destination – such as a car park, a shopping centre, a hotel, fast food outlet or leisure venue – has working EV charging. They will expect it.

The first destinations to install EV charging were innovators seeking to entice a small but lucrative market segment of early adopter EV owners looking for places to visit and spend time and money at with the added incentive of EV charging when the public network was sparse.

But beginning in 2024 and continuing into the future, destinations which do not offer EV charging will become the outliers. They risk becoming no-go locations for EV drivers if rival venues offer EV charging alongside their primary reasons to visit. 

Indeed, even destinations offering a very limited number of charge points risk becoming less attractive if the driver experience is regularly one of arriving to find other EVs already plugged in and even queueing to charge. CTEK’s 2023 YouGov survey found more than half (52%) of UK EV drivers having to wait to use a public charger at least one in four visits.

Destinations should be installing charge points, or at least the preparatory infrastructure for easy expansion, to be able to cater for the coming mass adoption of EV mobility, increasingly among people who cannot install a home charge point due to where they live.

2024 will be a year when the UK’s millionth EV hits the road and when demand rises for used EVs. We expect the pace of expansion in new EV sales to continue to slow in 2024, as manufacturers strive to tempt buyers from the mainstream to follow the early adopters. But this slowdown will not become a reversal, EV sales – new and used – will continue to rise. 

Younger drivers, renters, workers and used car buyers will all become more important segments of switchers to EVs. CTEK’s 2023 YouGov survey found almost one in four people (24%) said their next vehicle will be a fully electric or plug-in hybrid EV. They include the almost one in eight (12%) of UK adults who will be looking for a used EV when they next buy.

Sales of purely electric new BEVs will overtake hybrids (PHEVs) as more affordable BEVs arrive in the middle of the market. And the new and existing owners of EVs will see a fundamental shift in public charging availability.

In December 2023 the UK’s 10,000th rapid or ultra-rapid charge point was installed, in a year when the overall public charging network grew by almost 50 per cent. More than 1,500 charging devices were added in just the one month of November. Tens of thousands more will be added in 2024.

2024 will also see operators of rapid and ultra-rapid public Electric Vehicle (EV) charge points strive to hit the Government’s rule that by November their networks must work 99% of the time. 

CTEK’s 2023 YouGov survey found half of UK EV drivers (50%) encountering broken public chargers at least one in four times when they arrive hoping to charge. That has to improve.

As well as reliability, the UK Public Charge Point Regulations 2023 also cover contactless payment, roaming, reporting, helplines, open data and pricing transparency. 

In 2024 EV drivers will be more widely able to use contactless debit or credit card payments, access availability and pricing information, and be able to get help if they encounter problems when trying to charge. Newer EVs and charge points will also facilitate ‘plug & charge’ vehicle-to-charge point identification and billing.

We predict that artificial intelligence (AI) will fuel advanced predictive maintenance of charging networks, looking ahead for potential failures to address problems before they disrupt charging services. Real time monitoring and management will also increase uptime, as will building in communication safety nets to enhance and protect connectivity.

Initiatives and trials by the energy providers and grid operators will continue in 2024, pushing forward the nation’s ability to smooth demand and transition further to renewable electricity generation and storage.

EV owners with home charging will enjoy more opportunities to integrate their EV and its battery into their home’s energy grid. Newer EVs and home charge points will more easily integrate the battery as a source of energy as well as consumption, saving money through timely bi-directional charging. Home generation, most notably through solar, will add to this rich mix of efficiency and cost-reduction plus stabilise the grid.

Our 2023 YouGov survey asked people that if their EV and home charger enabled it, would they sell electricity from their EV battery back to the national grid if it made them a profit? Some 56% of UK EV drivers said yes (including 64% owning purely battery EVs) and another 19% did not know. The grid and its suppliers are pushing at an open door.

2024 will be an interesting 12 months for everyone in the world of EVs – owners, future owners, charge point installers and operators, energy companies, the grid and government – here at CTEK we are excited about playing our part in another year of innovation.