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New research has found that the UK is rated as Europe’s third-best country for electric vehicle driving, but a lack of charging infrastructure is threatening adoption by people without off-street parking.

LeasePlan’s 2022 Electric Vehicle Readiness Index – an analysis of the readiness of 22 European countries to transition to electric vehicles – found the UK was behind Norway and the Netherlands.

However, the use of public charging points proved to be a significant barrier to adoption, with all countries including the UK performing very poorly in this category.

It was also found that the availability of Rapid chargers along UK motorways was significantly lower than required.

Alfonso Martinez, managing director of LeasePlan UK, said sales of electric vehicles had “shot up” over the past two years, with battery models now accounting for almost one in five new cars registered.

“More than ever, drivers are opting for electric vehicles to reduce their carbon footprint and reduce travel costs,” he said. “However, the huge shortage of public chargers we’re facing here in the UK is now destroying all that hard work. Recharging is still a nightmare.

“The government must now deliver on its promise to invest £1.6bn to expand the UK’s charging network.”

The funding will be used to build a network of 300,000 Electric Vehicle charging stations by 2030, as outlined in the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy.

Research by the Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce shows that by 2035, the UK will need between 253,000 and 661,000 additional electric vehicle charging points to achieve the phase-out of internal combustion engine vehicles.

“We need greater access to reliable and affordable public charge points now, not just in 2030, and these need to be highly visible so that tomorrow’s Electric Vehicle drivers can make the switch with confidence.”

In Sales and leasing news. Electric vehicles accounted for a record share of Fleet Alliance’s new vehicle orders in the first quarter of 2022, accounting for 30%.

The Glasgow-based rental and fleet management company expects to further expand the electric element of its fleet this year after launching an electric vehicle Salary Sacrifice Scheme.

Andy Bruce, Fleet Alliance CEO, said: “With almost two-thirds of orders either BEVs or HEVs, we are continuing to see significant growth in electric cars across our managed fleet, well ahead of the national rate, as more of our customers opt to go down an electric route.

“This is being helped by an ever-widening array of new electric models coming onto the market, as more manufacturers broaden their product line-ups to include both BEVs and HEVs.

“The only major constraint is that of vehicle supply due to the global shortage of semiconductors but, with the increase in new models, there are always solutions available.”

Last year, Fleet Alliance saw record demand for electric models with 52% of all orders during 2021 for plug-in cars.

Bruce said demand from existing customers has also increased as part of Fleet Alliance’s commitment to the EV100 movement. As a member of EV100, the Fleet Alliance plans to electrify the fleet of more than 30,000 vehicles it manages by 2030.

Fleet Alliance figures are on par with the latest SMMT new car market figures, which show BEV sales accounted for 15.4% of the UK new car market in Q1 2022 – a new record, but around half that seen in the Fleet Alliance order books.

In the UK, national figures show that the popularity of conventionally powered cars continues to decline steadily, in line with Fleet Alliance figures.

Diesel vehicle sales fell 51% in the first three months of 2022 as fleets continued to ditch the once-popular and market-leading fuel, according to SMMT.

Sales of petrol cars, meanwhile, fell 15% in the first quarter, and in the month of March were down 25%.

Meanwhile in other news. Allstar Business Solutions announces a new partnership with pan-European electric vehicle charging network Allego Holding.

The partnership means Allstar’s road solution, Allstar One Electric, will be accepted at a further 348 chargers in the UK in the Allego charging network. Allego is powered by 100% renewable energy.

Allstar added 348 Allego chargers in 140 locations, including 150 Rapid chargers and 198 fast chargers in the South of England and London.

Paul Holland, managing director of UK Fuel at Allstar Business Solutions, said: “UK fleets are ramping up their adoption of EVs, so it is our responsibility to grow our network, making recharging on the road as simple and efficient as it is currently for petrol and diesel.

“This new partnership with Allego brings together our rapidly increasing Electric Vehicle customers and drivers with one of the UK’s leading electric forecourt operators. In addition, this will help us to offer greater access to charging points for drivers and help fleets accelerate to the benefits of an Electric Vehicles fleet.”

Additionally, Allstar added 232 Shell Recharge chargers to its network of 86 locations, bringing Allstar’s overall network to over 2,000 locations and approximately 5,700 chargers, including 3,506 fast chargers, 1,887 Rapid chargers and 8 ultra fast chargers.

Allstar recently formed a partnership with Zap-Map to allow customers to search, plan and pay for Electric Vehicle charging across the Allstar network.

Paz Sharma, region manager UK & Ireland at Allego, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Allstar Business Solutions to our network.

“Decarbonising transport and providing clean air to our cities is a collective responsibility, which is why we are pleased to partner with Allstar Business Solutions. Together we will work to provide greater Electric Vehicle network access to a significant number of Electric Vehicle fleet operators.”

Allstar has also launched Homecharge, a new payment solution for fleet operators that require employees to charge their business vehicles at home.

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UK ranks third in Europe for driving electric cars.
UK ranks third in Europe for driving electric cars.