VAUXHALL has teamed up with leading charge point operators to address the findings of an exclusive investigation that reveals more than 70% of UK councils currently do not have a published strategy in place for residential on-street charging for electric vehicles (EV), leaving millions of potential EV drivers without a place to charge.
The new findings from a Freedom of Information application across 414 councils and local authorities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland also reveals that 69% of local authorities have yet to install any on-street chargers.
According to the 289 councils who provided data up to July 1st, only 14,188 new charge points are planned for installation this year, well behind the run rate required to hit the Government’s target of having 300,000 running by the end of 2030.
In response, Vauxhall – which will offer a fully electric version of every car and van model in its line-up from 2024, and has pledged to only sell electric vehicles in the UK by 2028 – has set up the ‘Electric Streets of Britain’ programme to make sure drivers without driveways are not left behind in the transition to electric mobility.
Working with leading charging operators char.gy, Connected Kerb and SureCharge, Vauxhall has set up an ‘Enablement Fund’ to help councils understand the scale of on-street charging issues, and the solutions available, ahead of the Government’s planned ban on the sale of new combustion engined cars in 2030.
Vauxhall has also set up a new national database at http://electricstreets.co.uk/ for the public to register their needs, enabling councils to have a better understanding of where demand really lies for on-street charging for both existing and potential EV drivers.
On-street electric car charging is seen as critical to EV uptake as current data shows that 80% of all EV charging is done at home2. However, approximately 40% of UK households do not have a driveway or access to off-street parking, a figure that rises to 60% in urban areas. Residential on-street charging solutions include lamp post chargers, which can be installed and working within as little as 30 minutes, and innovative pavement-mounted bollards.
With 12,708 residential on-street residential charge points installed to date and a further 6,397 planned to be installed over the next year, London will soon be home to 19,105 on-street charge points – more than double the number of on-street charge points available across all other regions of the UK combined.
Of the councils who responded to the investigation across the UK, 45% confirmed they had no plans to install residential on-street chargers this year.
James Taylor, Managing Director, Vauxhall, said: “Accessibility to charge points near your home is critical to the transition to electric vehicle ownership in the UK. We want to galvanise the needs and interests of everyone, from the public,to the councils and the charging operators to make sure that anyone without a driveway is part of that journey.
“We want to help educate and inform the decision-makers, and enable the installation of more chargers, more quickly.”
On-street charging provision will help residents without off-street parking to conveniently charge their EVs, but the benefits extend beyond private motorists. An estimated four in 10 company owned electric vans are charged at home by employees, so the widespread availability of charge points will support businesses to go electric by helping van drivers to top up both at home and, as destination chargers, when they are attending residential jobs.
Asif Ghafoor, Chief Executive of Be.EV believes that whilst public money has been allocated to improve charge networks, it’s sitting unspent because of pointless bureaucracy and a lack of understanding from local authorities – something particularly concerning when the debate around the EV transition has become increasingly polarised.
Many local councils are wasting their time installing outdated, broken, or slow on-street chargers. Instead, they should be focused on creating t ultra-rapid charging hubs for communities, making charging quick and convenient.
Ghafoor said: “Up and down the country you have more than 400 local authorities who have been told to increase EV charge provision but many of them have no idea where to start.
“Nine times out of 10 once local authorities realise how complicated EV charging is they either file the report and do nothing or ignore it and turn a couple of hundred lamp posts into cheap and cheerful, very slow chargers.
“Many of these chargers end up broken or remain unused, and installing them is just a box checking exercise for local councils. In three years’ time we’ll be replacing them with faster models, or switching them off because they aren’t used. They’re not futureproof, they’re just clutter. Councils are wasting their time installing them.
“Instead, we should be equipping neighbourhoods with hubs of ultra-rapid chargers, servicing every home within a 10 minute walk. People can fit charging their EV into their lifestyle – while they’re at work, doing their groceries, dining out, or going to the cinema.
“If the government is truly committed to mass electrification they should invest in our national grid infrastructure, prioritise reliable, convenient charging hubs for communities, and educate EV drivers in best practice and etiquette.”