A TAXI operator who bought a state of the art electric car says they will never catch on while the charging system remains “inadequate”.

Rick Lawrence says his Hyundai Ioniq is so economical that it’s the equivalent of having a diesel car that does 400 miles to the gallon.

But he says charging stations are frequently out of order or vandalised and many people have no driveway on which to charge the cars at home.

Mr Lawrence, a shareholder in Bournemouth-based Mobile Radio Cars, paid £23,000 for the all-electric car, with the aid of some haggling and a £4,500 government grant which has since been reduced to £3,500.

“My taxi itself is fantastic. The fuel savings pay for the car,” he said.

“What lets it down is that the charging infrastructure in this country is not adequate. It lets it down time and time again.”

He has repeatedly found charging stations vandalised or out of order.

In London, where he had to visit four or five to find one that was working, he found one that was so awkwardly positioned that it was almost impossible to connect with the car.

“It’s as though they’ve been handed a lot of money, put them in and don’t think about practicality of making them work,” he said.

“I was amazed at the non-joined up thinking that’s going on with the infrastructure.”

At the Fleet services on the M3, he found only charging points for Tesla models, which are incompatible with his own car.

Locally, he is still waiting for stations at Hawkwood Road in Boscombe and Christchurch Road in Bournemouth to be fixed after reporting them days ago as out of order.

Mr Lawrence previously had a two-litre Skoda which cost him around £20 a day in fuel.

The Hyundai, which he finds has a range of around 130 miles, costs around £1.75 a day in electrical charge.

“When I had the car, I thought it was the future,” he said.

“Then I realised it couldn’t possibly be the future because to make it viable, you’ve got to have a charger at home – and to have a charger you need to have off-road parking.

“Fifty per cent of places in Bournemouth don’t have off-road parking. Are there going to be leads all over the road?”

As of last August, there were 155,000 electric vehicles in the UK, compared with 30 million petrol and diesel models,and 17,400 public charging points.

The Daily Echo has contacted Charge Your Car, the national charging point management system, for comment.