In July 2021 Havering Council launched a consultation around electric vehicle (EV) charging points.
The plan, it seems, is to gauge the public’s opinion as to the best place to put EV chargers in a bid to support the transition away from Internal Combustion Engines (ICE).
I’m all for switching to more eco-friendly forms of transport, but I don’t think that taxpayer funded chargers is the right answer.
At present, Government legislation means you won’t be able to buy an ICE car from 2030 onward. This isn’t that far away and many people will already be driving the car they will have in 2030. Many of us can’t afford that switch to electric and second-hand electric cars are… well let’s just say they’re not very good. The batteries degrade fast and render the car quite unusable.
So where does this leave us?
We’ll have vast numbers of quite old ICE cars alongside expensive, new, EV vehicles.
As EVs increase in number we’re also seeing an increase in their battery range. EVs can now, quite comfortably, trot out over 250 miles on a single charge. Sure, it’s not the 600-700 that I can get in my ICE car, but 250 is pretty much enough for everyone. I suspect that, by 2030, people are just not going to have to charge their EVs very often.
I propose that it isn’t the cost of charging, or the range, that is preventing people switching. It’s the cost of the cars.
When I think of this situation, I find it galling that authorities across the country are suggesting using taxpayers money to fund EV chargers. A public charge point is estimated to cost between £1000-£1500 per install. That’s not cheap.
So what do I propose?
At Home Charge Points
Firstly, Havering has 105,000 households and the average UK household has 1.5 cars. So we’re going to need a lot of chargers if we want everyone to be able to charge. Though yes, they won’t all be in use at once.
However, we’ve also got a lot of driveways and a lot of EV owners with driveways.
With battery ranges increasing I think that, quite simply, EV owners should primarily be charging whilst they are at home.
We then promote co-charging. A simple app, already existing, allows EV chargepoint users to rent out their charger when it’s not in use. They make money, someone else get’s a charge. Simples.
No cost to the Council.
Promote EV Stations
Braintree is already home to the UK’s first EV charging forecourt. This facility hosts 36 cars and is equipped with a café and workspace.
This isn’t some funky Council initiative it’s operated by private company Gridserve. Gridserve, by the way, have a vision to roll out hundreds of these across the UK. They use the latest, rapid, chargers and provide a nice place to rest.
Havering could, quite easily, host a number of these.
By encouraging the growth of these, privately owned, forecourts the Council would be shifting the burden of maintenance and upgrades to the private sector and away from already stretched taxpayers.
We have a lot of brownfield sites around Havering, a lot of new developments popping up. Perhaps our planning laws could give preference to EV forecourts? It’d certainly be better that what most councils are doing, installing EV chargers in much needed public car-parks (taking the space away from a non-EV user) or putting them in weird places like laybys.
I don't recall any councils funding the installation of petrol forecourts, so why the special treatment for those with expensive cars?
Don’t Use Don’t Pay
I don't believe that our Council taxes should be used to subsidise EV drivers and their charging. A majority of us can’t afford to own an EV and we have roads that are in urgent need of repair.
Instead of using my taxes to fund a service I don’t and can’t afford to use, why not put that money in to our road repair scheme and get our roads in tip-top shape? That way our council will be paying out less compensation for damaged cars, car owners will be spending less on repairs, we’ll be less congested and Havering can get moving again.
That’s a much better use of my taxes.
25% of energy costs, at present, are 'green taxes' and we have an energy price crisis. If we're going to spend hundreds of thousands on 'going green', then let's spend that on better insulation or solar for social homes. Drive down energy bills for those more in need.
Havering Council's consultation closes on 4th July 2022. You can submit your views at Electric Vehicle Charging Point Consultation - London Borough of Havering Council - Citizen Space