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.

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.

Dr Nina Skorupska CBE FEI, Chief Executive of the REA said:

“The data shows just how robust and reliable EVs and the public and manufacturer-owned charging networks are, even in the midst of a global pandemic. This is testament to the hard work and commitment of the industry who keep the networks running.

“With the lockdown set to continue it is important that the public has access to publicly owned and operational charge points. We are committed to working with OLEV to ensure any problems are identified as quickly as possible.”

Dr. Ben Lane, CTO and Joint MD, Zap-Map said:

“EVs and the public charging infrastructure are playing a fundamental role during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing many users to fulfil essential travel needs and keeping key workers across a wide range of roles on the road.

“Zap-Map continues to work hard to provide up to date information for EV drivers on public charging points across the UK, including highlighting COVID related issues as reported by users and network operators’.”

For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Hayley Allen                                        Melanie Shufflebotham

External Affairs Officer                        COO and Joint MD

+44 (0)20 7981 0862                          +44 (0) 7810095877

[email protected]                                  [email protected]


About the survey

The survey was conducted between 31st March and 2nd April by the UK’s leading charging resource Zap-Map and the UK’s largest renewable energy and clean technologies trade association the REA. Sample was sourced from Zap-Map registered users and sector distribution via REA. Zap-Map sample recruited from opt-in database with 3,189 completed surveys screened for EV use or ownership.

About Zap-Map

With a core mission to make EV charging easy, Zap-Map is the UK’s leading charging resource with over 120,000 cross-platform visitors each month. The charging point map, available on the desktop and iOS/Android apps, helps EV drivers locate available charge points, plan routes and share updates with the community.

In addition to the charge point map, Zap-Map provides supporting information on charging and electric vehicles to help current or prospective EV drivers to make more informed choices and enjoy their electric motoring experience. Zap-Map is providing COVID-related updates on charging network access: https://www.zap-map.com/coronavirus-ev-charging/.

About the REA

The REA is the UK’s largest trade association for renewable energy and clean technologies with around 550 members operating across heat, transport, and power. The REA is a not-for-profit organisation that represents renewable energy and clean technology companies operating in over fourteen sectors, ranging from biogas and renewable fuels to solar and electric vehicle charging. Membership ranges from major multinationals to sole traders.

About the REA’s Electric Vehicle Forum

The REA’s EV Forum is comprised of around 75 companies involved in financing, installing, operating, manufacturing, and providing services to the UK’s EV charging infrastructure market. The REA additionally serves as secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Electric Vehicles.