Councils Urged To Back Pledge For More EV Charging Points

With a general election fast approaching, issues like transport, the environment and energy are all big concerns. As something that relates to all of these, EV chargers should be getting plenty of attention from politicians.

Such chargers need to be abundant if the UK is to manage its transition away from vehicles fuelled by petrol and diesel. But while the number of chargers has been rising fast, some bodies have been arguing that politicians at both local and national levels can speed things up more.

Among these is charge point operator Believ. It has launched pledge cards it wants councillors to sign up to, which ask them to commit to greater charger roll-out, but also to facilitate this by having non-exclusive contracts and being willing to use all possible sources of funding, including private finance.

This call comes after Believ’s own report recently found that three-quarters of local authorities consider budgetary constraints to be the biggest barrier to the wider rollout of EV charging points.

Among the findings of the report had been that the speed of roll-out had plunged, with access to charging points down by 50 per cent, a third of local councils lacking a formal plan for EV infrastructures, and half believing they were more than three years away from implementation.

The report may be timely, however, with thousands of councillors across the country having only just taken up office after last month’s local elections, while the parliamentary prospective candidates being asked to sign may have their minds focused on this issue ahead of local hustings and, for those elected, just before taking their seats.

Believ CEO Guy Bartlett warned: “As more consumers buy EVs, especially with the rise of the second-hand EV market, we are in very real danger that public infrastructure isn’t keeping up with demand.”

Discussing the pledge cards, he said: “Our goal with these pledge cards is to foster committed action from local government, through the support of national government.” 

Putting more funding into establishing chargers is one thing, but having more trained electricians who can fit them is also crucial.

Believ is not the only organisation lobbying politicians hard on behalf of the electric vehicle charging sector as election campaigning continues.

ChargeUK, the umbrella body for the whole industry (Believ is a member), recently unveiled its own ‘manifesto’ ahead of the election calling for the government to take a series of steps to help complete the transition to electric motoring.

Its 12-point plan was focused on three main goals: To get more chargers on the ground, to make owning and charging an electric vehicle cheaper and accessing more private funding.

CEO of Charge UK Vicky Read noted that a third of the 60,000 chargers now in the UK were installed in the last year.

However, she added, ”ChargeUK’s members want to go faster – we know that providing infrastructure ahead of demand is essential if we are to give the UK’s future EV drivers the confidence to switch.”

It now remains to be seen if those sitting on the government benches of the Commons after July 4th take heed.