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Report encourages EV owners to charge at home

Electric vehicle (EV) owners are being encouraged to charge their cars at home and during work rather than at public street points as part of the government’s ‘vision for EV infrastructure’.

The new report argues that home charging is more convenient for motorists, has a lower carbon footprint and could also be integrated with smart meters.

Making the announcement, transport secretary Philip Hammond said: ’Public chargepoints are part of the answer but putting a chargepoint on every corner is not the right approach. Electric cars mean getting out of the mentality of needing to travel to a petrol station and into the habit of refuelling when a vehicle is not being used.’

Speaking to The Engineer, Prof Roger Kemp of Lancaster University, who advises the government on EV strategy, said part of the motivation behind home charging was that installing public chargepoints was simply too expensive.

He said: ‘At the moment it costs about £5,000 a throw and given that you’ll probably sell £3–£4-worth of electricity a night, it’s pretty difficult to see how you could make much money without fairly heavy subsidies.

‘I think they’re being realistic, and asking which of the groups is it easier to get EVs into and it’s probably those that have got their own off-street parking and for whom an electric vehicle is a sort of second car.’

The report said that 65 per cent of households in England (15 million households) have off-street parking, but it does not address the issue of home charging for areas such as London with predominantly street parking.

‘I honestly don’t know how one would go about dealing with that. To try and say, for example, we’re going to take this street in Acton and put EV charging points along it, that would be very difficult,’ Kemp said.

Rather than focusing on existing properties, the government said it will encourage local authorities to consider adopting policies to include plug-in vehicle recharging infrastructure in new domestic developments. Voluntary standards, such as the Code for Sustainable Homes, could also be used to encourage the inclusion of plug-in vehicle recharging infrastructure in new domestic developments.

In addition, employers and fleet operators will be able to install plug-in vehicle chargepoints in car-parking areas without the need to apply for planning permission.

The government has made provision of more than £400m to promote the uptake of ultra-low-carbon vehicle technologies. This includes approximately £80m supporting research and development activities; £20m for the installation of infrastructure; and, subject to review, provision of around £300m to support consumer incentives.

Is the government realistic to pull back from public charging points if it wants to encourage wider take-up of EVs? Join the conversation on electric cars on our new forum site.

Readers' comments (3)

  • How can it cost £5000 to put in a 13 amp plug? All residential streets have street lamps and two sockets on each lamp would provide power for plenty of cars, £100 per socket tops. It will be a long time before more that that are needed.

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  • How will street charging points and connection cables be made vandal proof anyway?
    Street-parked cars are already targets for gratuitous damage from lowlife, plugs and trailing cables are particularly vulnerable although this might result in a few electrocutions!

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  • Plug-in battery EVs are not ultra low carbon vehicles if charged from mains electricity: they are responsible for about 75g per km (500 gCO2 per kWh from the national grid & 0.15kWh/km) plus something like 3 tonnes CO2 in the manufacture of an EV battery (from a Ricardo report) divided over 8 years life is something like another 25g CO2 per km. Total 100gCO2 per km. You can get a straight diesel that does that. Adding EVs now to UK transport (before the national grid is cleaned up) will increase overall CO2 emissions and what's more the consumer will not know about it.

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