Japanese automaker Nissan has recently revealed that for the first time, electric car charging locations have outnumbered gas stations in the UK. According to the carmaker, there are 9,199 active EV charging stations in the country as of August, compared to 8,396 open gas stations.
The UK’s first gas station was opened almost a hundred years ago at Aldermaston in Berkshire, peaking in 1970 when there were 37,539 open stations across the country. The number of refueling stations have decreased since then. Between 2000 and 2005, for example, more than 3,000 gas stations closed down.
In contrast, EV charging stations have been increasing at a rapid rate. As noted by Autocar, there were 913 charging locations in the UK back in 2012, but by 2018, the number has increased to 6,699. Over 2,000 more have been installed this year, and among the total number of active EV chargers, more than 1,600 offer rapid charging services.
A statement from Nissan released on Thursday outlined these findings.
“In less than a century since Britain’s first fuel station opened – November 1919 at Aldermaston in Berkshire – the number of forecourts has peaked, declined and been overtaken by charging stations designed for battery, not combustion-powered cars. Almost 80% of UK petrol stations have closed since 1970, whilst the number of electric vehicle charging locations has increased from a few hundred in 2011 (when the Nissan Leaf went on sale) to more than 9,000 in August 2019,” the automaker wrote.
It should be noted that Nissan’s data is not a direct comparison to the number of fuel pumps still active in the UK. A notable number of EV charging locations included in the carmaker’s list can only charge one electric car at a time, after all, while gas stations are usually equipped with multiple fuel pumps to accommodate several internal-combustion cars.
Despite this, it is difficult to deny that the spread of electric car charging stations is accelerating at a pace never seen before. Data from EV charger tracking service Zap-Map, for one, notes that there are already 290 Tesla Superchargers across the UK as of May 2019, and these are further augmented by 550 Tesla Destination Chargers. A look at Tesla’s official website lists 49 Supercharger locations in the UK, with 28 others “coming soon.”
Other fast-charging infrastructure such as the IONITY Network, which will be utilized by European electric vehicles such as the highly-anticipated Porsche Taycan, is also expected to increase its number in the near future. Thus, the establishment of a robust electric car charging infrastructure in the UK is likely only beginning.
EV sales in the UK are expected to continue rising, particularly with the arrival of vehicles such as the best-selling Tesla Model 3, which has already proven to be a success in the United States. Other reasonably-priced and well-equipped EVs such as the MG ZS Electric, the Peugeot e-208, and the Corsa-e are expected to enter the UK market in the near future as well.