More than half of local councils have admitted to failing to contribute funds towards bolstering public charging infrastructure in the last year despite the ongoing boom in electric vehicle sales and looming ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030.
Some 52 per cent of 216 authorities who responded to the request said they have spent no money on chargers in the previous 12 months, despite the Government providing funds to do so through the on-street residential charge point scheme.
It comes after an industry report said last month that just 27 devices are being added to the network every day – a figure that needs to double to at least 50 if the infrastructure is to keep up with demand for new battery models.
Incredibly, the lack of investment from councils comes in the face of increasing complaints from local residents about poor EV charging facilities in their areas.
Councils scrimping on chargers: Half of local authorities who have responded to an FOI request admitted they have spent nothing on the installation of new EV charge points in their areas in the last year
DevicePilot, a service monitoring and management platform for EV charge point operators, contacted 374 local councils in total about their spending on infrastructure in the last year, with 70 per cent of authorities providing information.
Of the 216 that did respond, three in five said they had received complaints from constituents about there not being ample devices in their regions or the chargers that were available were faulty.
This saw councils spend a combined estimate of £5.6million on device maintenance over the year period.
London councils appear to be the most active when it comes to installing new charge points, with authorities in the capital each spending £204,000 on devices in the last year – more than double the national average.
Some blamed difficulties accessing the Government’s dedicated fund, with UK councils saying received 15 per cent less central funding on average in the last 12 months compared to the year previous.
A charger added to the network by a council – on average – costs £6,000, the report found. However, figures quoted for new device installations ranged from between £350 and £100,000, according to the feedback from authorities.
Incredibly, almost half (48 per cent) of the local councils said they either didn’t know how many charge points they were going to install in 2022 or had no intention to install any at all.
London councils appear to be the most active when it comes to installing new charge points, with authorities in the capital each spending £204,000 on devices in the last year – more than double the national average
Battery Electric Vehicle sales were up almost 50% in September. In contrast, diesel and petrol registrations slid by a massive 77.3% and 46.6% respectively during the month. More than 125,000 pure-electric cars have entered the road in 2021 so far
Tesla’s Model 3, which starts from £41,990 and is not eligible for any government grants, was Britain’s best-selling new model in September
The report has been published as electric vehicle sales continue to boom in the UK.
Latest industry stats show that car registrations as a whole were the lowest in September for 23 years, but it was also the best month on record for new battery electric vehicle uptake.
With a market share of 15.2 per cent, 32,721 electric cars joined the road in the month, reflecting the wide range of models now available and growing consumer appetite.
While EV sales were up 49.4 per cent in September, diesel and petrol registrations slid by a massive 77.3 per cent and 46.6 per cent respectively.
Showing just how quickly consumer demand for zero-emission cars is growing, September registrations were just 5,000 units shy of the total number of pure electric vehicles bought in the whole of 2019.
This was highlighted by the Tesla Model 3 becoming the best-selling new model in September – the fifth time it has topped sales charts in the UK, but only the second when Covid lockdowns haven’t forced traditional motor dealers to lock their doors.
Yet, on average, councils are planning to install only 52 chargers each by the end of 2022 – which works out at around nine per 100,000 people by region, DevicePilot found.
In London, councils said they will be adding an average of 39 new chargers per 100,000 people in 2022.
‘While some parts of the country have made sizable investments in EV infrastructure, others have spent nothing, and/or received no government funding to do so,’ DevicePilot said.
‘The report argues that the UK is not yet ready for the inevitable arrival of universal EV ownership, although 2022 promises to be a record-breaking year for EV investment.’
Pilgrim Beart, CEO of DevicePilot, added: ‘In the next ten years, more than half the cars on the road will be electric. To facilitate this transformation, the UK must install tens of thousands of charge points reaching every corner of the country.
‘EVs are vital to the UK’s carbon emissions targets, but while some parts of the UK are on schedule to meet greater EV demands, others areas lack the funding to do anything whatsoever.
‘I have a lot of sympathy for councils whose budgets have been stretched to breaking point by the pandemic and budget cuts, but we cannot continue to let the divide between the EV haves and have nots grow further.
‘It should be the UK’s short-term goal to ensure everyone in the country can reap the benefits of EVs, not just the privileged few.’
Councillor Darren Rodwell, transport spokesperson for the Local Government Association, responded to the study, saying: ‘Councils are not responsible for the provision of electric vehicle charge points.
‘However, they will invest in a range of measures to help reduce carbon and other harmful emissions from transport, including investment in cycling and walking infrastructure, introducing clean air zones, and investing in EV technology
‘Each place is different and each council will make spending decisions according to their local priorities.
‘The EV charging industry is still an emerging one and councils have to weigh up many competing demands on both their resources, but also demands on road space as well as take into account any potential risks from making commercial investments into EV charge points.’
Incredibly, almost half (48 per cent) of the local councils said they either didn’t know how many charge points they were going to install in 2022 or had no intention to install any at all
The study comes just days after MPs admitted that only a fraction of the electric car charging points needed to hit a 2030 deadline are being installed.
Just 27 publicly available points are being installed each day and the Government admits this must be doubled ahead of the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars takes effect at the end of the decade.
The car industry estimates that around 1,500 on-street charging points need to be put in place every month.
The Government’s said: ‘With over 24,000 chargers already available, around 700 chargers are being added to the public network every month.
‘However, we agree… the rate of deployment must accelerate to meet our ambitions.’
The Department for Transport said ministers had ‘committed an additional £620million to support the transition to electric vehicles, which will include accelerating the rollout of local charging infrastructure’.
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