Local Authorities take initiative on charging points

Local Authorities take initiative on charging points

The uptake of electric and autonomous vehicles requires a ‘major industrial shift’ according to the chair of a new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).  With the governments focus being drawn towards Brexit, the UK is at risk of letting this industrial shift pass it by.

Dame Cheryl Gillan MP who is leading the group, aims to increase awareness amongst MPs of the benefits and opportunities of electric vehicles.  Dame Gillan said:

“It is imperative that parliamentarians are aware of the rapid pace of change in the electric and automated vehicle sectors and that post-Brexit the UK is well positioned to benefit from these new technologies.”

It is in this context of Brexit that the government is coming under pressure for a ‘coordinated charging strategy’ to increase the rate of uptake of electric cars.  The APPG will therefore also discuss the roll out of charging infrastructure.

Speaking at last week’s Energy Storage and Connected Systems, the Renewable Energy Association’s (REA) external affairs officer Daniel Brown said the APPG would seek to address the lack of a detailed strategy for rolling out charging infrastructure.

“The big piece that we see the APPG contributing is pressure for government to come up with some sort of coordinated charging strategy. We’ve challenged Treasury, Department for Transport, we’ve challenged various different quangos as you might call them and there’s no one co-ordinated body that’s thinking about this.

“There’s limited discussion across government of how we are going to operate if nobody’s thinking about what’s going to happen…There needs to be some sort of body that is thinking through things more clearly. So the APPG is going to be pushing for some sort of EV charging strategy.”

But there are already moves from Local Authorities throughout the UK to promote their own charging strategies.

Kensington and Chelsea council for example already have central London’s largest lamp post electric vehicle charging network.  They have said that lamp post chargers offer a more cost-effective and ‘much less obtrusive’ option for charging by removing the need for additional street infrastructure.

The London borough of Wandsworth have also recently agreed a project for over 700 lamp post charging points throughout the borough with the aim of making electric vehicle ‘the norm, not the exception’.

Members of their community services scrutiny committee voted unanimously for the plans.  An eco-friendly car owners club is to be set up offering charging points on request to residents who have already bought or are about to purchase a new electric car.

The number of electric vehicles registered in Wandsworth has grown from 127 at the end of 2015 to well over 400, a figure which has been rising by as much as 10% every three months.

The council’s transport and environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said:

“We know that we need to play our part by removing barriers to choosing cleaner travel. That’s why we want people buying an electric vehicle to be able to charge it, and those wanting to hire a car to be able to choose electric.”

Lamp post charging is fast becoming the go-to model for local authorities to provide electric car charging without the need for off-street charging points.

Meanwhile in Scotland this model is being taken to the ‘next level’ by integrating generation, storage and charging all at one location.  A new electric vehicle charging hub in Dundee will combine rapid chargers, solar canopies and onsite energy storage all on one locations as part of the cities Go Ultra Low programme.

The initiative’s flagship project on Princes Street will incorporate six rapid chargers and solar canopies alongside a 60kW/90kWh E-STOR system from Connected Energy.

The energy storage system will be used to improve the business case and manage the peak load while taking advantage of the solar energy generated on site to charge electric vehicles – even in this northerly city not known for its sunshine.

Matthew Lumsden, chief executive of Connected Energy said:

“This is a landmark project in terms of the development of EV charging hubs in the UK so we are very pleased to be contributing to the development of the system and the supporting operational and business case.”

Lynne Short, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, added:

“This is an important project for the city and it will take us to the next level when it comes to our charging infrastructure.

“Within the 26 square miles of perfection that is Dundee we will have a charging network second to none and working with skilled and efficient suppliers is a key part of that.”


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