On-street charging options make electric dreams a reality

15 Feb On-street charging options make electric dreams a reality

It’s not possible for everyone to have an electric car charger at home – so bringing charging infrastructure closer to where people live is going to be vital for the continued popularisation of electric cars.

Good news, then – as a new £2.5million fund from the Office of Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) has opened to help local authorities provide just that.

Where there’s high demand around the country, the On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) should be very useful in persuading those considering going electric to take the plunge.

Putting power at the pavement

With 35,000 electric vehicles already on UK roads, fuel prices only heading in one direction (hint: it’s not down), and lots of attractive vehicle models, now could be the time to bring battery-powered motoring towards the norm, not a novelty.

There are many chargepoints already in place across the UK, but naturally, the ideal is to have them as close to where electric car owners live as possible. Those without access to off-street parking shouldn’t be cut off from the chance to cut their motoring costs and carbon emissions.

Andrew Benfield, Group Director for Transport at the Energy Saving Trust said: “Not everyone can install a charger at home because they don’t have a garage, or perhaps live in a flat. This infrastructure is vital to help people make better choices about the car they drive and to do so without any difficulty.”

Councils should act now

Three-quarters of the capital costs of installing these local chargepoints are offered to local authorities applying to the scheme, and multiple installations are possible so long as they’re located in residential areas and each can charge at least two cars at once.

It’s certainly one for the savvy authorities, as the scheme is first-come, first-served – with £1million set aside for the first financial year, and £1.5million for 2017/18.

Need charge? Speak up

Although it’s councils bidding for the cash, this is an opportunity for community groups and housing associations, and of course, local residents themselves, to press a compelling case for charging infrastructure to their local representatives. Factsheets for Local Authorities, chargepoint installers and consumers summarise details of the scheme such as the application process, the eligibility criteria, and what the grant covers, plus there’s a helpful document with frequently asked questions available, too.