The scheme would see 150 charging points be installed across the county by March 2018, but some people wonder if the money could be spent elsewhere.
Lancashire County Council successfully bid for the £14.8m from the Department for Transport.
But some community leaders have spoken out, saying the money should be used to save bus and library services that are being callously cut across Lancashire.
With libraries and bus services in every town across the county facing cuts, many believe this would be the better option.
However, others think we need to invest in the future of energy saving.
It is hoped the first machines will be installed in early 2017 once contract providers have been appointed.
Money secured from the Department for Transport will also go to replacing street lights with new LED bulbs, which could save up to £500,000 a year.
Council aiming to turbo-charge electric car use in Oxford
AN ATTEMPT to jump-start Oxford’s slow uptake of electric vehicles is now in motion, with up to 30 new charging points arriving in the next 12 months.
People and businesses across the city are being called on to help develop the plan and find suitable places for the trial stations, which will be bought in the summer.
In April this year Oxford City Council received an £800,000 grant to add an extra 100 charging stations to the city – where only 85 people currently drive electric cars.
John Tanner, the council’s board member for climate change, said: “What we have at the moment is the early adopters, the enthusiasts.
“But with more plug-in points around the city, I think more people are going to take the plunge and buy electric vehicles.”
There are currently 13 on-street charging stations around Oxford, of which three, Summertown Car Park, Cowley Road and Worcester Street Car Park, have reported faults.
It is hoped the 100 new devices will begin to be rolled out in 2018, making make electric vehicle ownership possible for 16,000 extra homes.
Mr Tanner added that another barrier to more people making the switch was the initial cost of a vehicle, which he said was comparatively “quite high”.
But he added: “We have to get into our heads that although these vehicles cost a lot to buy in the first place, they are very cheap to run, and don’t pollute the atmosphere.
“A petrol or diesel vehicle is pumping nitrogen dioxide into Oxford’s atmosphere. To switch to renewable energy from fossil fuel is the right way to go.”
Those already driving an ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) could struggle to get around Oxford due to a lack of available charge points.
Low Carbon Hub CEO Barbara Hammond, who lives in a terraced house on Osney Island, bought a Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid – which can switch between electrical power and fuel-burning – three years ago.
She said: “When we get the space outside we would like to plug in from our house and use a ‘cable gully’ – a safe means of getting the cable across the pavement.
“If you live in a city being able to charge it is an issue. A lot of people would have an electric vehicle if they could be sure of charging it.”
Research recently carried out by the city council suggested one in five people would consider going electric with their next vehicle.
Giles Dobson, 37, the owner of Oxford River Cruises based at Folly Bridge, said he would definitely buy an electric car if there were a place to charge it.
The Lake Street resident said: “My introduction to electric vehicles was the boats we operate – they’re electrically propelled themselves.
“To me the attraction of electric vehicles is the environmental benefit primarily, but also they have company car and tax benefits.”
Mr Dobson was among a small group of Oxford residents who met with the council on June 8 to discuss having a charging point on their street.
He added: “Lake Street is one of the worst for on-street parking because of the community centre, the health centre and the swimming pool.
“This scheme would make it feasible for me to get an electric car.”
Tromso, a Norwegian city known as the “Gateway to the Arctic”, receives no sunlight for two months of the year.
Yet this remote, beautiful, snowy city is the unlikely focus of the global electric car industry, attracting the attention of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, founder of electric car maker Tesla.
His company has recently opened a showroom there – its most northerly outpost.
Why? Because Norway, it seems, is simply nuts about electric cars.
The country is the world leader in electric cars per capita and has just become the fourth country in the world to have 100,000 of them on the roads.
When you consider the other nations on the list are the US (population: 320 million), Japan (pop. 130 million) and China (pop. 1.35 billion), then that is quite an achievement for this rugged, sparsely populated country of just five million.
Some of its politicians want to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2025, which prompted Musk to tweet: “What an amazingly awesome country. You guys rock!!”
On an earlier visit in April, he attributed a lot of Tesla’s success to the country’s pioneering stance on electric cars.
So how has Norway managed it?
Elisabeth Bryn helps explain the answer. The 56-year-old teacher enjoys driving in the icy streets of Tromso and she can barely contain her excitement as she misses our turn.
“It is such a good feeling to drive a clean car. It means I have a clean conscience and it works out cheaper in the long run,” she tells the BBC.
But it is economic incentive as much as environmental concern that is fuelling the rise in green cars – Norway introduced a raft of generous subsidies to encourage people to go electric.
Electric Car Incentive List
No purchase taxes
Exemption from 25% VAT on purchase
Low annual road tax
No charges on toll roads or ferries
Free municipal parking
Access to bus lanes
50% reduction in company car tax
No VAT on leasing
It launched an aggressive tax policy towards high-polluting cars, while offering zero tax on zero-emission cars. This “polluter pays” policy brought the cost of an electric car into line with a conventionally powered one.
Bryn is clearly shrewd about the numbers and says the entire cost of her car will be recouped within eight years thanks to the tax and fuel savings.
But aren’t people worried about running out of power? Lack of range is the electric car’s Achilles heel after all.
This is where Norway comes into its own, as Bryn demonstrates at a public charging point on an industrial estate out of town.
The electricity being pumped into her car is free.
Norway is fortunate enough to have close to 100% renewable and cheap hydro power production.
According to the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association, even if all three million cars on the country’s roads were electric, they would suck up just 5-6% of the annual hydro power electricity production.
Elisabeth Bryn loves her electric car, but some of her friends worry about flat batteries
Rapid charging points can pump her Nissan Leaf with up to 80% charge in just 30 minutes. Alternatively, Bryn can charge her car at home at a much slower pace overnight.
It helps that Norway is also the biggest oil producer in Western Europe and the world’s third largest exporter of natural gas. In other words, Norway is rich enough to subsidise its electric car lifestyle.
But despite these considerable perks, not everyone is convinced.
In Oslo there are more than 14,000 electric cars – about 30% of the market. But in the more northern reaches – cities like Tromso – enthusiasm has been more muted.
This may be explained by the tough terrain and “range anxiety” – concerns that a flat battery will leave them stranded in arctic conditions.
Can electric cars perform as well in far northern climes?
Studies have shown that electric car performance can deteriorate markedly in extreme cold or hot conditions. And Nissan, whose Leaf model is the biggest selling electric vehicle in Norway, admits that the car’s 124-mile maximum range can fall significantly in icier conditions when the heating, lights and demister are all draining the charge more thirstily.
Bryn says such concerns have put off some of her friends: “They have a cabin deep in the countryside and said they just couldn’t trust an electric car to get them there. They said there just weren’t enough charging points.”
Yet Tesla’s new showroom in Tromso, and the steady growth in the number of public charging points, demonstrates the industry’s commitment to spreading the green message no matter how inhospitable the environment.
And the rest of the world is learning lessons from Norway.
Germany has just announced a €1bn (£784m; $1.1bn) incentive scheme to get more consumers buying electric cars, for example.
Christian Ruoff, publisher of US electric car magazine, Charged, sums it up: “Electric car makers in the US see Norway as a window into the future.
“Norway shows that if governments can make electric cars as affordable as petrol equivalents then motorists, even in the Arctic Circle, will buy them.
“It also busts the myths that electric cars and their batteries are only suitable for cities with more moderate climates like Oslo or San Francisco.”
Car-sharing service Zipcar is partnering with Westminster city council to bring fifty Volkswagen Golf GTE plug-in hybrid electric cars to its members in London.
Westminster will receive 40 cars and 10 additional cars are to be sent elsewhere in London, such as Tower Bridge and Old Oak.
Electric car charging points have been installed in 40 of Westminster city council’s club parking bays.
Electric car charging points have been installed in 40 parking bays
The city council has installed electric charging infrastructure in 40 of its car club parking bays.
Councillor Heather Acton, Westminster city council cabinet member for parking and sustainability, said: “Electric vehicles are key to helping address pollution. Giving more people the chance to drive an electric car in London, and on a shared basis, is a big step towards creating a greener city.
“We are delighted that residents and visitors to Westminster will have the opportunity to try out these vehicles. Car sharing makes so much sense in central London, where a private car is not often needed.”
The cars are available to drivers for £7 an hour, which is the same rate as a petrol Volkswagen Golf.
According to Zipcar Figures suggest that one in 10 UK car club members have used an electric vehicle, which is up on just 4% in 2014.
Mark Walker, Zipcar UK general manager, said: “At Zipcar, we are all about simple and responsible urban living. The Volkswagen Golf GTE fully supports that ethos and is ideal for our members. The combination of pure electric vehicle driving in the city and fully flexibility to escape anywhere in the country, without compromise, is compelling. We believe our members will thoroughly enjoy driving this car in electric mode and will become keen advocates for electric vehicle driving in London.”
The car club strategy for London announced last May by councils, the Greater London Authority and Transport for London is targeting 50% of car-share fleets to be electric vehicles by 2050.
“Within two years, we’ll have something that’s not driven by a petrol engine,” he said before joking that the car would be instead be powered by “just a couple of hamsters.”
A representative from Jaguar wouldn’t clarify what kind of electric car it would be, but did say it’s inevitable considering the direction the rest of the industry is heading. She also said we could probably guess which models will get electrified first.
Presumably, that would mean the F-Pace and the XJ will be first to go, while the F-Type is safe from battery power (at least for now). AutoGuide has also uncovered trademarks Jaguar filed for an I-Type and an I-Pace, which points to an electrified F-Type—and an electrified F-Pace—coming at some point.
Assuming Callum is correct, look for the first concept car to show up in the next year or so.
By 2022 it may be possible to buy an electric vehicle for the same amount as a vehicle powered by a traditional petrol or diesel engine, according to a report published by Bloomberg Business this month.
At the moment the biggest barrier to wider EV adoption is arguably their high asking price. And with infrastructural improvements and technological upgrades, this type of eco-friendly vehicle is becoming more practical by the day, leaving the upfront cost as an enduring issue.
But if analysts are accurate in their predictions, it could be just six years before the choice between EVs and other cars is not affected by such considerations.
The main reason that EVs are comparatively costly today is that the batteries required to power them still put a significant burden on the total expense of the vehicle. But the report points out that battery prices have fallen by just over a third in the past 12 months and are likely to continue to tumble as demand rises and the technology involved in manufacturing them improves.
In 2015 there was a 60 per cent increase in the number of EVs sold internationally. And within 25 years they are expected to account for 35 per cent of the market as a whole.
This suggests that petrol- and diesel-powered cars will still be in the majority by 2040, or hybrids will account for the rest of the market. But ultimately it seems like complete EV dominance is only a matter of time.
Today less than a single percentage point of the new car market is made up of EVs. But as battery prices slide southwards, the predictions made in the report suggest that a major up-tick in sales is just around the corner.
While this is great news for drivers who want to reduce the harmful emissions their motoring activities produce without feeling the sting in their wallets, there are other economic considerations involved with the rise of EVs.
Specifically, it is the industries built around supplying the fossil fuels that power current cars which are likely to suffer. And analysts believe that by 2023 the need for oil will have dropped by up to two million barrels per day.
For companies and indeed entire countries which rely on the demand for oil to survive and thrive, this could be a significant issue. Some are even warning of a looming crisis which will come if steps are not taken today to ensure that the falling need for oil is balanced by investment in other areas.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are expectations surrounding the rise in EV ownership in terms of how this will impact the electricity infrastructure of the UK and other developed nations. With more people charging up their cars at home or while parked elsewhere, the demand for power will only increase.
Globally the amount of power drawn annually by EVs could be equal to a tenth of all electricity generated around the world in 2015. This annual total of 1900 terrawatt-hours of consumption is not likely to be hit until 2040, but it gives an indication of the scale of the challenge that electricity providers are going to face.
This will no doubt lead to debates about the resources which are consumed in order to provide the electricity to charge EVs. Because getting rid of a petrol-guzzling car only to replace it with an EV that plugs into a mains connection supplied by a power station that burns coal will seem like a less than perfect solution to many motorists.
Questions about the mining processes and economic impact of extracting the minerals required to build the batteries which are found within EVs also exist. But in the long term there is no doubt that vehicles must shift away from a reliance on fossil fuels, since non-renewable resources are necessarily limited and unsustainable.
Some electric car charging points in Bath are to be replaced following complaints from drivers they do not work.
Several public charging points in the city, which are owned by Bath and North East Somerset (Banes) Council, have recently been reported as broken.
One driver told the BBC “only three of about 15” were working last week.
Banes said it was “aware of some issues” and it planned to install new units by the end of March.
The BBC found at least three charging stations – at Charlotte Street car park, and at Lansdown and Newbridge park and rides – were currently out of service.
Electric car owner Will Guyatt said: “To find a public charge point is not working, you really are stuffed, because you then need to find somewhere else to charge.”
Calvey Taylor-Haw, from Charge Your Car – which oversees charging points in the UK, said there had been problems in Bath for a while.
“We’ve had numerous calls about those particular charging stations and they are very unreliable.
“We’ve taken the decision to mark them as ‘off-line’ on our map.”
Erik Fairbairn from the charging point supplier POD Point, which supplied many of the machines in the city, said reliability was “not perfect” and said discussions were taking place with the council about upgrading them.
“These were charge points sold a number of years ago to the council. They haven’t necessarily had the relevant support contract in place.
“Now a number of them are not perfect. We’re hoping the council will say ‘come in and sort them out’.”
A council spokesman said Banes was “in the process of switching its supplier and replacing electric charging points” in the Charlotte Street car park and Lansdown park and ride.
Research made by the RAC Foundation revealed most motorway stations had charging points – 72% of the total 97 sites.
Of the 165 individual charge points, 92% are rapid, allowing batteries to be almost fully replenished in around 30 minutes, informed RAC.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Electric car drivers might still struggle to drive from Land’s End to John o’ Groats but they can now travel from Southampton to Perth in a relatively straight line and be confident of being able to ‘fill up’ along the way.
England had the highest percentage of charging points within 20 miles of the whole road network at 82 per cent, while at 28% Scotland represented the least EV-friendly territory on the United Kingdom.
“Though many of the charge points are rapid, it will still take at least 20 minutes to fully charge a battery, which is fine if you’re first in line but could be a challenge if the hoped-for take up of electric cars materialises and you’re stuck at the back of a long queue,” added Gooding.
Some 98% of England’s motorway network is no more than 20 miles from an electric vehicle charge point, according to new research.
A study by motoring organisation the RAC Foundation found that the proportion of service stations offering the facility has risen to 72%.
It stated that the vast majority (92%) of the individual charge points are rapid, meaning batteries can be almost fully replenished in around half an hour.
When the analysis was extended to include major A roads managed by Highways England (HE), it was calculated that 82% of the strategic road network is within 20 miles of a charge point.
There are currently just over 20,000 battery-only vehicles licensed in the UK.
The report found that just 28% of the major road network in Scotland is within 20 miles of a charge point, and 45% in Wales.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Electric car drivers might still struggle to drive from Land’s End to John O’Groats but they can now travel from Southampton to Perth in a relatively straight line and be confident of being able to ‘fill up’ along the way.
“The growing charge point network is good news but there are important caveats.
“Though many of the charge points are rapid, it will still take about 30 minutes to fully replenish a battery. This is fine if you’re first in the queue but could be a challenge if the hoped-for take up of electric cars materialises and you’re stuck at the back of a very long line.”
Research previously published by the RAC Foundation suggested that a third of charge points in London were not working at any one time.
From next month the £5,000 subsidy for electric cars is being reduced and replaced by a tiered system.
Vehicles with a zero emission range of over 70 miles will be eligible for up to £4,500 while those with a shorter range – such as plug-in hybrids with a petrol or diesel engine – can receive £2,500.
The drive to see more electric cars on Tyneside has received a funding boost.
New electric filling stations will be installed at Science Central, in Newcastle, and on the A19 on the outskirts of Sunderland, after the North East Combined Authority announced it received £1.5m grant as part of the government’s Go Ultra Low fund.
Each filling station will feature six to eight rapid chargers which top up electric vehicles in 15 to 20 minutes – rather than the eight hours it takes for a standard charger.
And the stations will feature cafes for drivers waiting for their cars to charge.
NECA made a bid to the Office for Low Emission Vehicle’s (OLEV) £40million Go Ultra Low Scheme in October last year and the results were announced on Monday.
Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council and NECA portfolio holder for regional transport, said: “We made an ambitious bid to the Go Ultra Low City’ scheme and whilst its disappointing that we have not been awarded the Go Ultra Low City status – it’s great news that this development funding will help us showcase the filling stations of the future.
“We are seeing more and more people switching to electric vehicles in the North East and we have done a huge amount to make this a practical and viable choice by installing charging points across the region.
2016: “The government’s current air quality plan with respect to London is based on the very limited ambition of the previous mayor to tackle air pollution and isn’t enough to protect Londoners health,” said Khan. “I know from personal experience that the city’s air is damaging people’s health as I suffer from adult-onset asthma myself.”
Khan’s first major policy announcement after winning the mayoral election for Labour were new plans to tackle the capital’s air pollution. These include more than doubling the size of the planned Ultra Low Emission Zone.