Working out your electric vehicle strategy

In November 2020, nearly one in every 10 new cars registered in the UK was pure electric, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. 

Despite the disruption to the automotive sector caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a record-breaking year, with more than 144,000 new pure electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles registered up to November, achieving a 9.7 per cent average market share over the year. 

Meanwhile, the UK Government will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales by 2035.

As electric vehicles (EVs) become increasingly mainstream, all local authorities should have a strategic grasp of how they will support the transition. However, we understand that this is often easier said than done. 

Energy Saving Trust’s Local Government Support Programme is funded by the Department for Transport and helps councils make better sense of their EV options. Our advice is free, independent, and tailored to different stages of implementing an EV strategy. 

We can deliver informative workshops, review draft EV strategies or planning policies, support business engagement events, map potential charge-point locations, analyse your taxi and private hire fleet, and more. 

We’re a friendly and supportive team, spread across England, and don’t favour one approach or technology over another.

Alongside our strategy advice, Energy Saving Trust administers the £20 million on-street residential charge-point scheme (ORCS) on behalf of the UK Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). 

Local authorities can apply for funding towards the procurement and installation of charge points in residential areas, either on-street or in council-owned car parks. 

Access to public charging removes a barrier to EV ownership for households without driveways or garages, who are unable to install their own private home charge point.

It’s worth noting that EVs are not just for large cities. We’re increasingly working with councils to help them install charge points in villages and towns, as demonstrated by projects in Durham and Kent (see panel below). 

It’s hard to overestimate the value of councillors in championing electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. Successful EV projects need ambitious leadership and a novel combination of council teams and resource investment. Lending your support can open up this possibility and empower officers.

Delivering charging infrastructure sends a strong message that a council is acting on climate change, addressing air pollution, and working to ensure a just transition to electric vehicles. 

For more detail about the support available from the Energy Saving Trust, please visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/business/transport/local-authorities.

Charging points

Kent County Council is expanding access to EV charge points in communities where demand is not yet sufficient to attract private sector investment. Around 25 parish and town councils have recently applied to be part of a new project, through which 40 charge points will be installed on community-owned land.

Durham County Council has an ambitious vision to ensure all residents without off-street parking can access an EV charge point – ideally within a five-minute walk of their home. 

The council has been awarded nearly £500,000 from OLEV through ORCS to install 60 22kW charge points in rural council-owned car parks and in some on-street areas. 

Most of the funding is being provided by OLEV, but local communities can assist with fundraising to increase charge-point numbers in their local area and, in return, receive a revenue share.

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