The U.K. Soon Could Have More Charging Stations Than Gas Stations

The number of filling stations is falling as electric car registrations surge.
Two vehicles charging on a London street. (Photo: Miles Willis/Getty Images)
Aug 6, 2016· 1 MIN READ
Taylor Hill is an associate editor at TakePart covering environment and wildlife.

There could be more electric vehicle charging stations than gas stations in the United Kingdom by 2020.

That’s the claim made in a new report from Nissan, which found that in four years the number of conventional fuel stations could fall to fewer than 7,870. That’s down from the 8,472 today and a far cry from the 37,539 recorded in 1970. At the same time, the Japanese electric vehicle maker predicts that the 4,100 public charging locations in use today will grow to 7,900 by 2020.

Nissan used data from London-based Energy Institute and Zap-Map—which charts the location of charging stations—to estimate the growth of stations.

According to the U.K. government–funded website Go Ultra Low, 115 electric cars were registered every day in the first quarter of 2016. At that pace, electricity could become the dominant form of propulsion for all new cars sold in the U.K. by 2027.

RELATED: Your Next Electric Car May Not Even Need a Battery

“As electric vehicle sales take off, the charging infrastructure is keeping pace and paving the way for convenient all-electric driving,” Edward Jones, electric vehicle manager for Nissan, said in a statement. “Combine that with constant improvements in our battery performance, and we believe the tipping point for mass EV uptake is upon us.”

The rapid increase in charging stations is partly due to the “electric highway,” a network of 296 free rapid charging stations deployed across the U.K. by energy provider Ecotricity. The chargers were strategically placed along popular highway routes and have provided more than 30 million miles of free travel since 2011.

The charging network “has been so successful in encouraging the uptake of electric cars that it is now necessary to start charging for the service in order to maintain and grow the network,” the company said in a statement.

Ecotricity now charges around $7 per 20-minute charge.

The United States still has a ways to go when it comes to switching from gasoline to electricity. There are around 14,000 electric charging stations nationwide, compared with 168,000 retail gas stations.