With the UK Government's 'Ten Point Plan For a Green Industrial Revolution' committing to an end in sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, alongside the increasing urgency to take action on climate change and air pollution, more and more local councils are looking to establish or expand their electric vehicle (EV) charging facilities.
This week we were pleased to welcome Leon Davies, Principal Sustainability Consultant at Net Zero Evolution, and Jeremy Burton, County Officer at Norfolk ALC to Scribe Academy™ to share the vision, benefits and deployment options for EV infrastructure for Parish & Town Councils, as well as the regulatory and financial implications that come with it.
🤩 So, what is the vision?
In addition to the end in sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, the UK Government have planned for all vehicles to be fully zero emission at the tailpipe by 2035. The switch to EV's will be a major contributor to the net zero goal, not only improving the country’s air quality and people’s health but supporting new jobs and growth opportunities.
However, it's important to state that a local authority's role in EV charging will vary across tiers of local government, powers and related competencies. There are currently no specific powers or duties for local authorities in relation to the provision of EV charging and the General Power of Competence (GPC) determines whether a local council can charge for electricity, which will be looked at in more detail below.
💚 What are the benefits of Electric Vehicles?
1. Ultra-low emissions - of course, the obvious! While EVs are zero-emission at point of use, emissions are produced during the generation of electricity. However, research suggests climate gases (such as CO2) are reduced by around 25-40% when compared to the average conventional car.
2. Fuel efficiency - the reduction in carbon emissions is mainly due to the superior energy efficiency of electric cars compared to conventional vehicles. For example, ‘regen’ braking, which improves fuel efficiency by around 20% by returning energy to the battery when the brakes are applied.
3. Cost efficient - EV's are showing a significant reduction in running costs compared to conventional cars, with fuel costs which are around 70% lower for EV's if overnight home charging electricity is used. Despite the higher energy price when charging on the public network (around 2x the price of domestic electricity) fuel costs are still lower than a petrol or diesel car.
4. Convenient - not only is it at the doorstep in residential areas, it is fast enough for overnight use so you can wake up to a fully charged car at off-peak rates after a good nights sleep!
5. Highly scalable - the introduction of on-street options (such as lamp post charging) are becoming more common across the UK, allowing local councils to support residents with electric vehicles but no dedicated parking bay.
⚡ Know Your Charging Rates
Now, before we take a look at the deployment options of EV infrastructure, lets get to grips with the different charging types...
1. Rapid & Ultra-rapid chargers - direct current (DC) rapid chargers, rated at 50kW, are one of the fastest ways to charge an EV and can refill an EV battery to 80% in around 40 minutes. Ultra-rapid chargers can charge an EV battery even faster - typically rated at 100kW upwards, it can refill an EV battery to 80% in 20 minutes.
2. Fast chargers - the most easily found charger type in the UK, with charges at speeds between 7kW to 22kW alternating current (AC). A 7kW fast charger can refill an EV battery in 6-8 hours, while a 22kW charger can take roughly 3 hours.
3. Slow chargers - the second most popular charger in the UK is the slowest method of charging, known as the 'trickle charge', which uses a standard 3-pin plug and can take up to 12 hours to recharge and EV's battery. These are typically recommended for emergency use where no other means of charging is available.
4. Hydrogen chargers - these chargers use hydrogen fuel cells to generate the electricity to charge the EV. While hydrogen charge points have seen rather low adoption compared to electricity charge points, fast hydrogen chargers like ABB and AFC can take a matter of minutes, require little maintenance and provide consistent speed.
Quick fact: As of April 2022, there were 30,290 public EV charging devices available in the UK, 5,494 of which were rapid chargers.
🔌 Charging Infrastructure Options
So, where would these different EV chargers typically be found? And what are the viable options for local councils when is comes to deploying EV infrastructure?
1. Substations - while perhaps not a viable option for local councils, it is worth mentioning that EV charging substations are increasing in numbers, with companies like Gridserve in the process of deploying over 100 Electric Forecourts® across the UK, powered by net zero carbon energy. The most common chargers at substations include rapid, ultra-rapid and fast chargers.
2. Off-street - home charging is a common option for residents with a dedicated parking bay. Fast & slow chargers are most commonly used and they allow the EV owner to sleep while their vehicle charges overnight, ready for the morning.
3. On-street - lamp post charging points are perhaps one of the most efficient deployment options for local councils, with 5,300 charge points currently installed (and counting). The charge point is installed to the lamp post in around one hour and uses the additional electricity available. There are additional options available including electric charge point pop-ups and installation of bollards where street lamps are not available.
💡 Is lamp post charging the way forward for EV’s?
We've all heard of home charging for electric vehicles and perhaps seen electric charging points at our local supermarket, but have you seen a vehicle taking electricity from lamp posts?
Ubitricity, recently bought out by Shell, are at the forefront of this mission to use the additional electricity available from lamp posts to provide convenient and affordable EV charging parrticularly to residents without a dedicated parking bay.
By taking advantage of the great electricity supply, Ubitricity charge points can work at 5kW. This is fast enough to fully recharge a 60kW battery overnight, or replenish the average daily commute in just over an hour.
The best part about this is that the infrastructure is already there, meaning it blends into the street and does not create additional street clutter. Ubitricity are even offering to install these chargers at no cost to the council...sounds like a win-win for you and your residents! Which leads on to the next question...
🤔 Can all local authorities implement this?
Charging for electricity would be trading and a local council can only trade if it has the General Power of Competence (GPC). However, there are other ways local authorities can introduce EV charging points and even create an additional income to the council.
As an example, if a local council does not have the GPC, NALC Legal Topic Note 89 suggests they could use section 128 of the 1972 Act to lease a strip of their council car park. It would need to be wide enough for the installation of the charging points and the charge for the supply of electricity would be made by the electricity company. This means the leases could provide an income for the local council and, as rent is incidental to the lease, it would not count as trading for councils without the GPC.
You can view the Legal Topic Note 89 below, along with some additional useful resources.
💁🏽 Useful resources
Q: Does one charger charge all vehicles?
A: The Combined Charging System (CCS) is a standard for charging electric vehicles and from July 2022 CCS will fit every single car.
Q: How do we contact Shell/Ubitricity to ask for lamp-posts to be considered as chargers?
A: You can contact Ubitricity via this link: https://www.ubitricity.com/contact/#city
Q: Do you need Phase 3 electrical supply for the bollard option? We are a rural village in Somerset, no street lights!
A: Not necessarily. It is definitely worth getting in touch with Ubitricity or similar, as they could look at UK power networks to find your nearest substation and then see if it is viable to run a cable to where you want the EV chargers.
Q: My concern is when people park to charge up, but leave their car plugged in all day, thereby not allowing anyone else to use the charger. How can you deal with this?
A: The best way to deal with this is through financial penalties once a certain period of time is reached. Most EV charging companies will also automatically stop the charging after a certain time is reached. And if all else fails, you could revert to good old naming and shaming!
Q: Can the EV points be maintained by a general electrician or specialist, or is the monthly/annual maintenance fee built into the purchase of the EV point with the supplier?
A: Any electrician that is 18th edition qualified can maintain EV charging points and there are companies who can maintain EV charging points under contract to the council.
Q: We are in the process of having EV points installed. Can you recommend electricity suppliers?
A: Check back shortly
Q: Charging kW mix? A lot of our village will have off road parking, as this is the case should we look to 50kW chargers as a preference in the village hall car park. giving villagers of visitors the option of really fast charging
A: Check back shortly
Q: Street lighting in our Parish Council is paid for by Cornwall Council. If we (PC) were to install lamp post EV points, how is that cost separated from lighting cost and passed onto the PC's?
A: Check back shortly
Q: Looking for advice on tariffs - where town / parish councils have installed EV Charging, have you set different tariffs for locals?
A: Councils have charged the same price for residents and non- residents. It is a standard charging price for all users.
Q: I'm keen on hydrogen cell as a future alternative to electric, do you have info on use in Germany I could review?
A: Check back shortly
⏯️ Missed the event or want a replay?
Watch the webinar below.
You can download a copy of Leon's slides on EV Options and Benefits below.
As well as a copy of Jeremy's slides on EV regulations and finances here.