posted 4 months ago

Your Local Council Is Stopping You from Switching to an Electric Vehicle

The rather catchy ‘On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme’, aims to be the first step on the road to positioning the UK as the world leader when it comes to electric car tech.

Your local council has access to a £4.5m fund for on-street Electric vehicle charging points, but it probably hasn’t done anything about it.

It turns out that the government fund has been available since 2016, but only five out of the 418 councils across the UK have applied for the funding. In a bid to up this number, ministers Jesse Norman and Claire Perry have written to councils urging them to use the money. 

The rather catchy ‘On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme’, aims to be the first step on the road to positioning the UK as the world leader when it comes to electric car tech. Thus making the UK the first place investors will think of when it comes to the new world of EV’s.

Clearly, a lot has to be done to make their 2050 objective.

With a third of UK homes not having off-street parking, charging can become somewhat impossible. Leaving EV buyers stuck charging at work or topping up whilst out and about, meaning electric car ownership is even more of a turn off for potential buyers.

The scheme allows local councils to fund up to 75% of buying and installing on street, residential charging points. These don’t just have to be your standard charging poles either, existing lampposts can be adapted to help reduce street clutter and make use of the infrastructure already in place.

Local councils are also advised that the other 25% of the cost can be made up from public and private sources. If they can find a way to get a private backer, or even one of the prolific charging companies to foot the last quarter of the cost, the new charging points would be free. Win, win right?

You’d think local authorities would jump at the chance for a bit of free PR, maybe even turn a new build road into ‘EV Street’. It’s marketing gold.

And it’s not as though the money is the prohibiting factor here, new charge points can cost as little as £200-500 to install and set up. The maximum for a single grant application is a whopping £7,500, which may sound a lot…but how much do you think it costs to dig up streets and pavements?

In terms of the funding, there’s enough to go around, with money allocated until 2020. Initially, there was £1.5m set aside for 17/18, which has been increased to £4.5m for this year and 2019/2020. 

Oxford have been the shining light so far. In September ’17 they embarked on installing 100 EV charging stations around the city. They’re trialling six different charging technologies, including running cable gullies so owners can ‘plug-in’.

It’s only a trial mind you, lasting for 12 months as of October last year. The solutions that work the best will then be rolled out across roughly 100 other sites, throughout Oxford’s cramped residential streets.

20 residents are being guinea pigs to see how on-street charging works. They will either already be electric car owners, or currently purchasing one. These charging points will be powered by their own household supply, which could mean they won’t be awfully fast.

As for the public on-street chargers, these will be run by a company called Good Energy which sources its power from hydro, wind, biofuel or solar, so the end to end energy consumption will be totally renewable.

The Netherlands ran a similar scheme a few years ago to prompt the take up of EV and PHEV (Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) cars. If you purchased a new vehicle, you’d be guaranteed a parking space outside your property and have an electric charging point installed. All free of charge.

Imagine a scheme like this in London, the EV adoption would be huge. But it seems local governments have been painstakingly slow to act so far.