Need to improve electric vehicle uptake

General / Wed 11th Aug 2021 at 08:20am

ESSEX local authorities need to draw on their impressive networking capabilities to improve the county’s poor electric vehicle uptake, which is among the worst in the country, according to new research reports the Local Democracy Reporter.

The comments from New AutoMotive, a transport research group supporting the uptake of electric vehicles in the UK, comes amid figures showing Essex has the second worst uptake of EVs in the UK – which along with Lancashire saw an uptake rate of just six per cent in July 2021.

Only Northern Ireland has a worse rate.

The drive towards electric vehicles is among the key factors in determining whether Essex and ultimately the UK can meet its net zero commitments by 2050.

ESSEX local authorities need to draw on their impressive networking capabilities to improve the county’s poor electric vehicle uptake, which is among the worst in the country, according to new research. has set out its own goals that Essex should meet by then – including replacing every single gas boiler with a hydrogen model.

But with transport responsible for 27 per cent of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, it is essential that travel is decarbonised if Essex meets the UK’s climate commitments.

Congestion on Essex roads is an “environmental disaster”, the commission has said, and economically is costing local businesses billions.

In 2017, more than £37.7bn in the UK was lost, directly and indirectly, through traffic congestion. This amounts to an average of £1,168 per driver.

For a county like Essex, with landscape that is 72 per cent rural, to shift away from fossil fuelled engines presents specific challenges, the commission adds.

Petrol cars in the county make up about 56 per cent of new sales.

Ben Nelmes, Head of Policy and Research at New AutoMotive, said the low uptake could be to do with large distances people are travelling.

He said: “I would imagine it would largely be that the places where we see high take up are places where the distances people drive are very low – London for example gets a very high take up and electric cars are very suitable for people who live in London because they don’t drive very far so charging is less of an issue.

“So one thing is to get the infrastructure right and it is good to see Essex County Council is making electric vehicle infrastructure a priority.

“The other thing is that in places where there is high level of uptake we often see local authorities have gone out of their way to promote the benefits of electric vehicle ownership.

“For example Coventry City Council have done all sorts including public information promoting the fuel cost savings of owning an electric vehicle which is not understood by a lot of people.

“If there was one bit I think that Essex County Council could add to their plan – though largely it looks good – is they should try to work with local car dealerships in Essex and do that public information piece so people can have it explained the benefits of EV ownership.”

In Oxfordshire one in five new cars being purchased is now electric, in London 16 per cent of cars sold are fully electric and in the north east 14 per cent of new cars are now electric.

While seeing low uptake of fully electric cars, Essex is seeing some of the strongest sales nationally of hybrid.

Mr Nelmes added: “But we also see a continued and worrying growth in hybrid sales. Hybrids are not net zero vehicles, and we are concerned that customers are paying over the odds for a technology that will soon be outdated.

“This is further evidence that the UK needs a strong California-style system that enables people to access the benefits of fully electric vehicles.”

He added that not having good charging coverage everywhere will also hinder EV uptake everywhere even if a particular authority has good infrastructure in place.

He added: “Local authorities need to make decisions based around the evidence where charge points need to go. There is nothing worse with a charging network that is huge but is in all in the wrong places.”

An Essex County Council spokesperson said: “Essex County Council has taken a proactive approach to promoting greater public uptake of electric vehicles.

“In partnership with energy firm Electric Blue, we have installed four new electric charging points at the Sandon and Chelmer Valley Park and Ride sites at no cost to taxpayers with drivers able to pay using a mobile app.

“In 2019 Innovate UK awarded Essex County Council, GRIDSERVE, Brunel University and Upside Energy £5.3m to develop and deliver UK’s first Electric Forecourt on the A120 just past Braintree.

“The Forecourt, which includes 24 electric charging bays, on-site battery storage and a solar powered canopy, opened in December 2020.

“The project means we can support community engagement, awareness and education, as well as promote a low-carbon agenda and electric vehicle ownership across the region.

“We have also helped promote the DfT’s Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), a scheme which provides up to £350 towards a home electric vehicle chargepoint and the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) for small and medium sized businesses and the charity sector.”

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7 Comments for Need to improve electric vehicle uptake:

2021-08-11 12:03:54

No charge to taxpayer's I should think so as well. It's bad enough that they get a grant toward's a EV let alone the taxpayer coughing up for their electricity cost.

2021-08-11 12:10:17

No cost to taxpayers I should think so as well. It's bad enough that the taxpayer has to pay the grant when they buy the EV let alone the bill for the electricity. Some cars on the Governments list cost over £50,000 if you can afford one there is no way you deserve any financial help.

Adam Osen
2021-08-11 14:28:54

I’m no expert, of course, but I’m not convinced that electric vehicles are the future. Batteries are environmentally damaging, both in terms of mining the materials and disposal. Also, the article says “ Congestion on Essex roads is an “environmental disaster”, the commission has said, and economically is costing local businesses billions.” Different cars won’t change that. Localism might be a more effective and nicer solution, planning for jobs and shops to be near where people live.

2021-08-11 21:57:17

Adam you are right. EVs that use Batteries are environmentally a dead end route to take. Mining the metals is extremely polluting: reprocessing is high demand energy consuming process and as numbers of these EV cars increase the metals will be in short supply. We need to move to a hydrogen economy and develop fuel cells, money needs to be spent to develop the technology to move away from the use of platinum and rhodium for electrodes. There is a pool of platinum and rhodium that could be used because of the reduced demand for these metals in exhaust systems. Research has already been done to develop fuel cells using more common metals.

2021-08-12 06:30:14

The government wants everyone to buy up a snake oil salesman’s vehicle? Nah. Good thanks. The way forward is not electric cars, they’re not environmentally friendly - I’ve seen charging stations in London that are using diesel generators to feed electricity to the chargers... how is this a benefit? Also, batteries use lithium which is running low as it is, and they want to provide more? From where? When it’s run out and gone, and they can’t power the cars or any other generic battery operated devices - they’ll end up blaming the end customers who wanted this to begin with. Screw electric cars and absolutely sod off with Elon Musk. A man who’s qualifications in engineering are essentially non-existent. This is a man who created (alongside others) PayPal and now has too much money, thinking himself to be Tony Stark. But, he’s not...

2021-08-12 07:51:33

The energy required to move something is proportional to the weight. Electric vehicles weigh twice as much as a petrol/diesel one. This means you use twice the energy to run one. Renewables only account for 30% of energy at best. This means you are actually burning more fossil fuels to run an electric vehicle. Why is it that all green ideas that have been implemented since the 80’s have always resulted in an increase in energy consumption. A real green idea would be to have light weight vehicles with lean burn engines

Dave Summerville
2021-08-12 20:00:10

Dubious about EV's--where will all the extra electricity needed be generated--surely causing more pollution, who will foot the bill, and so far they cannot fulfil the range of fuel driven cars--what about the transport industry and it's fleets--they would be massive users. Why not look at other less polluting alternatives, as it seems the industry has decided to pursue EV's only. Current ones are lethal to the hard of hearing, as so quiet, and accidents have already happened involving them. What about an effective, cheap public transport system.

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