Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

02.01.19

Going electric: rolling out an EV charging network

Source: PSE Dec/Jan 2019

Bridget Rosewell OBE, commissioner at the National Infrastructure Commission, argues that local authorities should be required to prepare for the growing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) with a government-backed roll-out of a fully visible charging network.

After 100 years of incremental change, in the coming decades we will witness a revolution on our roads. With more and more drivers going electric, the reign of the internal combustion engine will slowly but surely be committed to history. Once the preserve of only the most environmentally conscious, now EVs are going mainstream.

While most people don’t give too much thought to the type of energy that powers their homes, when it comes to purchasing a car, they have a clear choice to make. In a society where air quality is increasingly under the spotlight – particularly for those living in our towns and cities – polluting conventional vehicles are becoming less appealing.

In October, there was a 31% increase in sales of electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid vehicles when compared with the same month in 2017. The UK is one of the top European countries for EV sales, and the government already supports their take-up.

But, as EVs become cheaper and more attractive, we need to have the right infrastructure in place to encourage drivers to make the switch from petrol and diesel. In our assessment, the commission has called for a truly national, visible charging network to give drivers the confidence they need.

One key deterrent is so-called ‘range anxiety.’ This is the fear that a driver won’t have sufficient range to get to their destination and could face being left stranded. This is a barrier which must be tackled if the popularity of EVs is to continue rising. That’s why we want the government to subsidise the provision of rapid charge points in rural and remote areas by 2022, meeting the need where the market will not deliver in the short term.

But we also need to know that our infrastructure can keep up as demand for EVs grows – and councils are going to have an important role to play. We think the government should place a requirement on local authorities to work with charge-point providers to earmark a proportion of their parking spaces – including those that are on-street – to be converted to charge points. The local knowledge of those working at a community level will be crucial to make this a success.

We must also consider regulation. We have recommended that Ofgem should regulate the interaction between EV charge points and the electricity network immediately. This will ensure that charging contributes to the optimisation of the energy system – for example, by encouraging drivers to charge at night when demand for electricity is lower. It will also be necessary to set minimum standards for a network of interoperable, smart charge points – something that government, industry, and Ofgem should work together to achieve.  

The government has already committed to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans completely by 2040. We believe that, as the costs of EVs reduce, the market may move more quickly than that, and so we should be preparing for close to 100% of new car and van sales being electric a decade earlier, by 2030. We can’t afford to underestimate the pace of technological change, nor to forego the benefits that an earlier switch to electric would bring.

For that reason, as the public’s attitude towards EVs begins to shift, we need to provide certainty that we have chargers in the right places to address range anxiety and our charging infrastructure is able to cope with increased demand. Having more EVs on our roads will help us meet our carbon targets and improve the health of our communities. Ministers need to take decisive action to show that we’ll be ready for them.

 

Enjoying PSE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Neath Port Talbot Council threatens to pull out of £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal

17/04/2019Neath Port Talbot Council threatens to pull out of £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal

A council has threatened to pull out of Swansea Bay’s £1.3bn city deal unless it starts delivering projects in the next six months. ... more >
Flintshire council takes over litter enforcement services from controversial Kingdom

17/04/2019Flintshire council takes over litter enforcement services from controversial Kingdom

Flintshire County Council has taken over litter enforcement services in the county and urged residents to “take responsibility” over ... more >
City council rejoins ICS after reforms agreed in privatisation and accountability row

17/04/2019City council rejoins ICS after reforms agreed in privatisation and accountability row

Nottingham City Council is to rejoin its local NHS integrated care system (ICS) after significant reforms were made to the way the system runs in... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
New unitary authorities formally takeover from Dorset’s nine councils

01/04/2019New unitary authorities formally takeover from Dorset’s nine councils

Two new unitary authorities have officially taken control of local government in Dorset following the merging of nine local authorities. Given the go-ahead by parliament in May last year, th... more >
Spending ban over Northamptonshire County Council lifted

29/03/2019Spending ban over Northamptonshire County Council lifted

Northamptonshire County Council will have its spending ban lifted after commissioners reported the authority is “now living within its own means.” The section 114 notice banned a... more >

the raven's daily blog

Self-build builds potential for more and better homes

15/04/2019Self-build builds potential for more and better homes

The director of The Right to Build Task Force – which advises stakeholders on bringing on more custom and self-build homes – Mario Wolf, who is currently on secondment from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, discusses challenges the public sector needs to engage with to deliver housing supply growth. In... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Connecting the North East

15/04/2019Connecting the North East

Cabinet member for economic regeneration at Northumberland County Council Richard Wearmouth outlines the plans to reintroduce passenger services ... more >
What about social care?

15/04/2019What about social care?

Glen Garrod, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), outlines the challenges facing the social care workforce... more >
How public sector IT can exploit the last 'big things'

15/04/2019How public sector IT can exploit the last 'big things'

Martin Ferguson, director of policy and research at Socitm, outlines the technology-related trends to look out for in the public sector throughou... more >
Brexit's systemic fallout

15/04/2019Brexit's systemic fallout

The third in a trilogy of Brexit articles for PSE, Chris Painter, Professor Emeritus at Birmingham City University, considers the wider constitut... more >

interviews

Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

17/12/2018Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

One of the public sector’s key technology partners has recently welcomed a new member to its team. Matt Spencer, O2’s head of public ... more >
Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need to invest in technology to help make better use of their resources. Bu... more >
New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

05/11/2018New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

The new chief executive of one of the new unitary authorities in Dorset has outlined his approach to culture and work with employees, arguing tha... more >
Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >

public sector focus

View all News