Are Mobile Signal Gaps Slowing The UK’s EV Progress?

Electric Vehicles in the UK are becoming more and more adopted among drivers. Nonetheless, findings from the RAC Foundation reveal an important but commonly ignored factor, and that is: stable signal and mobile connections are needed at charging points.


What’s The Issue With Mobile Connectivity At Charging Points?


Ivo Wengraf’s research for the RAC Foundation uncovers a key obstacle for electric vehicle charge points due to variable mobile signal coverage. Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation, remarks, “The reliance on mobile phones for activating electric vehicles’ charging stations is a reality. Unfortunately, this method doesn’t always succeed as expected.”


The main findings from the study were:

  • A considerable fraction of Type-2 chargers in Great Britain, outside London, offers adequate coverage from all mobile networks in only a third of locations.
  • This situation leaves a substantial number of chargers in areas where one or more network signals are weak or non-existent.


The Solutions

These were the solutions proposed:

  • Introducing workarounds such as roaming SIM cards, external antennae for more dependable data connections, and satellite internet provision.
  • Gooding suggests additional measures like establishing Wi-Fi hotspots and leveraging satellite internet to ensure chargers are operational regardless of mobile network performance.


What Role Does Government Play In Enhancing EV Charging Connectivity?


Government intervention is an important factor towards solving the connectivity issues faced EV charging infrastructure.

Government Initiatives

Funding for Advanced Technologies: Investment in research and development of advanced connectivity solutions such as 5G and satellite communication to support remote and urban charging stations.

Regulatory Support for Signal Enhancement: Introduction of regulations that encourage or mandate mobile network operators to improve coverage, specifically targeting areas with high densities of EV chargers.


How Is Technology Shaping The Future Of EV Charging Stations?


The advancement of tech within the industry shapes how much or little the tech of EV charging stations improve, especially in terms of connectivity. Innovations are focusing on bettering the signal strength and also on making the charging process more efficient and user-friendly.

Technological Innovations Include:

Integration of IoT Devices: Leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) to allow smart monitoring and management of charging stations, ensuring optimal operation and maintenance.

Development of Smart Apps: Creation of more sophisticated mobile applications that can provide real-time data on charger availability, signal strength, and alternative charging options in case of connectivity issues.


How Does Mobile Network Coverage Impact EV Adoption Rates?


This is what the survey found when it came to adoption rates:

Consumer Confidence: Surveys indicate a direct correlation between the reliability of EV charging stations and the willingness of consumers to transition from traditional combustion engines to electric vehicles.

Geographical Variations: Regions with comprehensive 4G or 5G coverage report higher rates of EV adoption, which bring up the need for mobile connectivity in supporting EV ecosystems.


Statistics That Show This Trend


A study found that in areas with comprehensive mobile coverage, EV adoption rates were up to 20% higher compared to areas with spotty coverage. Also, the Department for Transport reports a 15% increase in public EV charger usage in regions following improvements in mobile network infrastructure.