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Getty © If evert petrol and diesel car in the UK was replaced with an electric car, how many charging points would we need?

If every petrol or diesel car in the UK was replaced with an electric car, how many charging points would we need?

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To replace the huge number of cars in the UK we would need more charging points…but do we have enough energy to supply them all if they were electric.

Asked by: Bob Beck, via email

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Today we have around 20,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging points in the UK. By 2020, it’s estimated that there will be one million EVs in use, which will need 100,000 charging points. There are around 35 million cars in the UK, so if we replaced every one with an electric equivalent, we could need as many as three million charging points. The slower EV chargers currently require around 3kW of power, while rapid chargers range from 7kW to 350kW.

If we replaced all cars with an electric equivalent, it’s estimated we would need an additional 18GW of power. The new £20bn Hinkley nuclear power station in Somerset will produce 3.2GW once it opens in 2025 – so we may need another six of these to meet demand.

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Authors

Dr Peter Bentley is a computer scientist and author who is based at University College London. He is the author of books including 10 Short Lessons in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and Digital Biology: How nature is transforming our technology and our lives.

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