A busy motorway service station in Yorkshire has had to bring in a generator to power new EV chargers because of a lack of supply.
dozen ultra-rapid chargers at Ferrybridge, costing £70,000 each, were supposed to go live in June.
But operator Moto has had to bring in a generator – fuelled by hydrogenated vegetable oil – to provide the power for six.
The others are standing idle.
The power upgrade they need won’t be available until December 4. Meanwhile at Scotch Corner, another dozen have also been waiting since June for an upgrade – now expected at the end of the month.
Moto Hospitality chief executive Ken McMeikan says it’s frustrating for drivers in the school holidays, causing queues and long wait times – and the problems will only get worse unless the government and power companies get their act together.
The company operates 61 motorway service stations across the UK. He said: “It’s a shame because Northern Power has been one of the better power companies. If they are struggling it tells you how bad it is in other parts of the country.
It comes as Rishi Sunak confirmed that the ban on petrol and diesel cars from 2030 will remain – despite pressure from Tory MPs and peers to row back.
Mr McMeikan said the amount of charge they were giving EV drivers had doubled in a year. “By 2030 assuming around one in three or four cars coming into Moto stations are electric we will need 25 per cent of the output of an average nuclear power station (240 MW) just for Moto.”
The stresses, he says, are already telling in queues and long waits at Christmas, Easter and seasonal peak times, but the government, he believes, is unlikely to act as they did in the wake of the panic buying and fuel shortages in 2021, because EV drivers are “still a minority – it’s not popular enough for the government to intervene.”
And he said three years after the government launched their £950m rapid charging fund, it hadn’t paid out a penny, and operators still didn’t know how to access the fund.
Another huge challenge will be even more energy hungry HGVs.
He said: “I can almost see a time just for Moto where we will need the equivalent of a whole nuclear average-sized station. Given at the moment we only have nine in the UK, it just blows your mind.
“I am very sceptical that there is sufficient power for future demand and that’s not being admitted or faced into.”
Mr McMeikan said he’d told Minister of State for Decarbonisation and Technology Jesse Norman that the government needed to set targets for power companies, but he’d rejected that suggestion.
One of the problems was the rapid turnover of Ministers – four since he’d taken on the role as CEO five years ago.
A Government spokesperson said: “The number of public chargepoints rose by 38 per cent over the last year – a rate that puts us well on the way to the 300,000 figure by 2030. In fact, the rate of installation has been increasing, supported by significant investment from both the Government and private sector.”