EVs and public charging network keep key workers moving in midst of pandemic

  • Zap-Map in partnership with the REA has carried out a survey on EV use during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 83% EV users still reliant on their EV for essential travel and almost three in ten (29%) are still using the public charging network
  • Almost a quarter of these EV users (24%) identify as ‘key workers’
  • 98% of the public charging infrastructure is operating as normal – although there is an increase on normal reporting rates of issues

A survey by Zap-Map in partnership with the 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.

Charging Station in Sunderland (Image: Fastned)

Charging Station in Sunderland (Image: Fastned)

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 on 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.

Read more: REA

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