Postcode affects how easy it is to charge electric car

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has demanded that a “postcode should play no part” in how easy it is to use an electric car.

Nearly 100 local authorities have fewer than 10 public charging devices per 100,000 population, according to figures published by his department.

This includes Barnsley, South Yorkshire (four); Wirral, Merseyside (five); Birmingham (eight) and Stoke-on-Trent (nine).

Mr Shapps said: “Your postcode should play no part in how easy it is to use an electric car, and I’m determined electric vehicles become the new normal for drivers.

Local authorities with most electric car charging devices per 1,000 population
(PA Graphics)

“It’s good news there are now more charging locations than petrol stations, but the clear gaps in provision are disappointing.

“I urge local councils to take advantage of all the Government support on offer to help ensure drivers in their area don’t miss out.”

The analysis of data from electric vehicle charging platform Zap-Map shows there are more than 15,000 charging devices across the UK.

Scotland is leading the way nationally with 32 per 100,000 people, followed by England (22), Wales (17) and Northern Ireland (16).

Some devices can charge more than one vehicle at a time.

Data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders shows more than 25,000 pure electric new cars were bought during the first nine months of 2019, more than double the total in the same period last year.

These cars now hold a 1.3% share of the new car market.

But industry experts have warned that demand for pure electric cars will be restricted unless there are significant improvements to the charging infrastructure.

The UK plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars sold from 2040.

The Government offers grants to local authorities for the installation of chargepoints on streets, as well as support to fit the devices in places or work and homes.

Darren Rodwell, environment spokesman for the Local Government Association said the availability of public chargepoints is “driven by local markets and suitability”.

He went on: “Councils will work with businesses and residents on such issues, but all areas will respond in a way that suits local circumstances.

Electric cars
New petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2040 (Peter Byrne/PA)

“Councils are determined to do more to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions but a lack of long-term funding is a clear barrier to such investment. The next government needs to address this at the earliest opportunity.”

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, called for a “national strategy” on electric vehicle charging, including guidance for locating on-street chargers and a plan for creating a network of rapid chargers.

He told the PA news agency: “The fact that central Government is making funds available to councils to install charge points is welcome, but without accompanying advice on where best to locate them it shouldn’t surprise us that many authorities are stalling on how best to proceed.

“Just totting up the number of charge points tells us nothing about whether authorities are choosing the locations that would work best for the motorists they are urging to go electric.”

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