Cars parked in some trees

Greening neighbourhoods, twice over

How public EV charging can enhance the public realm

Taking petrol and diesel cars off the road is a key near-term requirement in the battle against climate change. 15% of the UK’s carbon emissions come from cars. A swift and sweeping switch to electric vehicles is needed, alongside more attractive public transport and walkable, cyclable cities.

Local authorities and the wider public sector are taking a lead role in developing the infrastructure for all this - including the public EV charging networks that are needed to enable everybody, not just the affluent, to go electric.

Yet, while the climate crisis is the overarching driver, the roll-out of tomorrow’s infrastructure is also an opportunity to more fundamentally transform the public realm and create cleaner, greener, more attractive neighbourhoods.

Charge in the community

EV charging doesn’t work in the same way as filling up at a petrol station. People can walk away and do something else while their car is charging.

This means charging facilities can be installed alongside local community infrastructure, with charging speeds matched to what people are doing while they ‘fill up’.

This puts a new focus on what’s walkable from charging locations, shifting people’s perspective and how they experience local public spaces.

Putting the ‘park’ into ‘car park’

And these spaces can be greener too. Unlike petrol forecourts with their expanses of concrete, EV charging sites can be designed as attractive, green spaces for the community.

The simple fact that “e-forecourts” don’t have to seal the ground to contain petrol and diesel opens up huge potential to create new, green focal points for local communities.

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For smaller hubs, this could include seating and a few planters with small trees and wildflowers. Large, ultra-rapid charging hubs can feature mature trees, grass areas and picnic tables, as well as hosting small local retail businesses.

Local authorities and the wider public sector have access to land right at the heart of their local communities. Often, it’s the unloved, tucked away or downright ugly pieces of land that are perfect for EV charging. Here’s a chance to green them in more than one way – and create thriving, attractive neighbourhoods for everybody.

For more insights and an overview of common pitfalls when planning EV charging, download our short guide for Local Authorities here or take a look at our work with Trafford Borough Council here.

Be.EV is a public EV charging provider. It builds concentrated regional charging networks that work for local communities. Be.EV runs the largest public EV charging network in the North West and is expanding rapidly across the North and beyond. It works with local authorities, the NHS, universities and private businesses to make EV charging accessible to all.

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