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Charging across Europe

For many of us this year, summer holidays are something to look forward to long after summer - or this year - has ended.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to get away and chose to drive.

One of the subjects I’ve blogged on before is the shift from combustion to electric power for cars and other vehicles.

Understandably, the road block created by covid has stilled what appeared to be growing optimism on the UK’s ambitions to swap the gearbox for the grid.

I believe this is a pause, rather than a conclusion, and base it on my observations on a 1,200-mile round trip to Croatia and back, plus a little research.

Current for Croatia

The spread and density of charging points between here and the Balkans tells its own story of the impending road revolution.

Looking at just one map of European coverage doesn’t offer much in the way of nuance but it does provide a graphic image of an infrastructure that has switched from experimental to established.

So it’s down to me to offer some anecdotal commentary. Charging point coverage was noticeably better in countries like Belgium and France, which started earlier than most and means you can plug in at two-thirds of its service stations.

They were harder to find in Italy but plentiful - and all free and fast - in Croatia itself.

And given that there are more than 175,318 charging points across Europe, the fear lying behind range anxiety (will I have enough juice between recharging stops to reach my destination?!) ought to be, finally, receding into the rear view mirror.

The pandemic threw normal life, business and routine up in the air. At the time of writing, we are officially in recession, which shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone.

No shortage of voltage

Inevitably, this has led to a braking effect but I think we’ve reached the point of no-return for electric vehicles and what is a revolution will accelerate. Moore’s Law will apply - cars and charging will incrementally improve and be cheaper.

The UK already has more charging points than petrol stations and is behind only Germany when it comes to the rapid versions.

That may surprise some (it did me) as the received wisdom is that we lag behind our more “progressive” European neighbours on developing and rolling out new technology.

Even while there is some way to go, it’s clear that we can be at the forefront of something that promises to bring silence to our cities and cleanse the air we breathe.

Something to look forward to, at least, in the midst of a fairly grim period.

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The spread and density of charging points between here and the Balkans tells its own story of the impending road revolution.

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After 40 years of experience in the pensions world, I'm sharing my insights.