The UK’s electric vehicle charging network grew by almost a fifth in the first nine months of 2020, according to new government figures. Data from the Department for Transport (DfT) shows there are now around 19,500 electric vehicle charging points in the UK, and more than 3,500 of those are “rapid” devices.

According to the DfT figures, the number of public charging points found in the UK has risen by 18 percent between January 1 and October 1, with more than 1,200 devices going online in the third quarter of the year. The number of rapid charging devices has grown massively, too, with 10 times more rapid charging points on offer now than there were in 2015.

However, the government has conceded that there’s something of a postcode lottery when it comes to accessing chargers. London, for example, has the highest number of electric vehicle chargers per 100,000 inhabitants, with 63 chargers for every 100,000 people. Scotland also scores well, with 37 chargers per 100,000 inhabitants.

At the opposite end of the scale, Northern Ireland boasts just 17 chargers per 100,000 people, while Yorkshire and the Humber has a mere 18 chargers per 100,000 inhabitants. In fact, only London, Scotland and the north-east of England exceeded the national average of 29 chargers per 100,000 residents. The south-east of England matched that level, but the north-west of England, east of England and Midlands all fell well short.

RAC data insight spokesman Rod Dennis said the figures sent a message to customers that electric vehicles were becoming more viable. However, he also urged a shift in “focus” to rapid charging points, as faster charging times could increase the uptake of electric vehicles more quickly.

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“The rise in the number of charge points across the UK is very encouraging and sends all the right signals to drivers who might be thinking about opting for an electric model next time they change their car,” said Dennis. “Add in the fact that many people with electric cars can charge from home and overall it’s a positive picture.

“But there’s still a way to go and the focus now needs to be on installing as many fast chargers as possible, given that less than a fifth of public chargers are rapid. While the speed of fully charging an electric car can’t compete with the five minutes or so it takes to fill up a petrol or diesel model, a greater number of faster charge points could help tempt more people to ‘go electric’ sooner.”