Are councils truly on board with electric cars?

Recent figures have highlighted the level of investment by Councils across the UK into EV charging infrastructure – which areas are leading the way, and which are still to take any meaningful action. Leading electrical vehicle charging technology provider, Franklin Energy, are currently partnering with several councils, each employing a diverse range of measures to integrate the needs and demands associated with EV driving, as the movement rapidly gathers pace.

Robert Byrne, Managing Director of Franklin Energy commented: “This is a really interesting piece of research that shows us the levels of investment and emphasis each council is taking in terms of EV driving, highlighting an inevitable synergy between planned and current infrastructure, and how affluent that area is.

The research carried out by focused on London boroughs and major towns and cities whereby information was provided by Councils detailing how many authority funded public chargers had been installed by the end of August this year.

Rob continued: “The results where surprising in some areas, particularly those that showed a zero install. We’re at a stage now where we can’t afford to ignore the interest and demand in EV cars coupled with Government pressure to make us a nation of electric drivers in the not too distant future. Lack of progress by Councils in their provision of public chargers will undoubtedly influence the decision made by drivers in terms of petrol or electric for their next car.”

The Government recently announced a £400 million investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, with half funded by private sector partners that aims to have 5,000 rapid charging points operational by 2024, including 3,000 new installations. Franklin Energy has secured £1.7million of a separate Government led initiative to improve electrical vehicle charging technology for on street environments as part of the Innovate programme.

Franklin is the sole charging provider under the programme and will deliver smart on street charging in cities throughout the UK. In a bid to address concerns surrounding usability, cost, speed and accessibility for EV drivers, the new fast EV charging system EnSmartEV, has been developed under a partnership with Entrust Microgrid, the project lead, based at the University of Lancaster.

Rob explained: “We’re part of the latest Government pilot scheme that will trial EV technology across two sites in Merseyside through Halton Borough Council. This will see two EnSmartEV charging hubs introduced into the local area to enable local residents to have improved access to EV charging as well as support the town centre in having publicly accessible EV charging points.

“At this pilot, the council is exploring highly innovative technology that allows drivers to fast charge up to six EV’s simultaneously of any make and model of EV. Easy to use and operate, the EnSmartEV will be great for EV users and for the electricity grid network too. At the moment, very few people are talking about the impact of EV’s on the electricity grid but the reality is that the grid will simply be unable to cope with demand from EV charging. Our solution will ease the burden on the grid and manage electricity loads at peak times.

“It really is a ground breaking approach that addresses the very real issues surrounding EV charging in public spaces. In order to meet government targets and roll out the drive towards EV ownership, we must have the infrastructure in place that meets the needs of modern life. This technology will provide highly efficient, incredibly low-cost charging solutions. Liverpool City Region and Halton Council are exploring these options and once we have that essential data, will be able to make informed decisions in terms of the technology that’s right for their area.”

The project is being piloted in Halton, Merseyside from September 2019 and is being implemented via Halton Borough Council and the Liverpool City Region.

He concluded: “It’s important councils gain a clear understanding of the number of current and future drivers and what their needs are. The key to rolling out the EV movement will be the level of infrastructure available. If this isn’t in place this will seriously hamper progress and ultimately detract drivers from making the switch.

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