A new study by car maker Nissan predicts the U.K. will have more electric vehicle charging locations than gas stations by 2020. It’s a bold prediction to estimate that EV chargers will outnumber places to gas up in just four short years, but Nissan is counting on both a continued decline in the number of operational gas stations, as well as new charge points coming online.
The attrition rate for gas stations in the U.K. is high: Nissan found that more than 75 percent of those operational four decades ago have closed and not been replaced, leaving a total of just 8,472 in the country (from a high-water mark of 37,539 in 1970). Following that curve, the car maker guesses that by 2020, the number will have dropped to 7,870.
Chargers are on the rise, however, and while currently, the U.K. boasts only 4,100 locations, its rate of growth is such that it should hit 7,900 charging spots in the next four years. Electric car registration is also growing at a rapid clip: A joint government and car maker campaign to promote low emission vehicles found that in the beginning months of 2016, a new electric car was registered every 13 minutes, on average.
Now Nissan has reason to hype the growth of EV infrastructure: It claims the honor of being the first to market with a “mass-produced electric vehicle” (the LEAF) and continues to push its all-electric cars as an ideal solution for U.K. urban commuters.
But even if Nissan has a clear interest in the market, its optimism is something that others can probably get behind. If the pace of EV infrastructure support is truly not on the rise, even if primarily in markets like the U.K. where the average driver isn’t worried about range anxiety on long trips, that’s something to celebrate.