Tackling the EV infrastructure challenge is a revenue opportunity for local authorities says Metric Group MD
The UK is ‘sleepwalking’ into a transport crisis because investment into electric vehicle charging infrastructure is lagging too far behind the expected rise in sales of electric and hybrid vehicles.
That’s the view of Chris Wortley, managing director of intelligent parking company, Metric Group, who has outlined the scale of the problem, saying: “We are sleepwalking into a crisis if we don’t act now to put significant EV charging infrastructure in place.
“There could be anywhere between 8-11 million hybrid or electric vehicles on UK roads by 2030 if uptake is aligned with the Government’s Road to Zero (RTZ) targets. It’s critical for action to be taken quickly, if we are going to keep the country moving.”
Latest Government figures revealed there are just over 44,000 public EV charging devices installed in the UK and that distribution nationwide is inconsistent. While the average number of public charging devices per 100,000 of population stands at 66 across the UK, the figure for London is 152, compared to just 23 in Northern Ireland, 63 in North East England, and 39 in the North West.
Chris continues: “We are a long way off the level of provision that is needed. Unless we accelerate our plans considerably, there simply will not be enough charging points in place for everyone. We must act now to steer things in the right direction, because this kind of infrastructure cannot be transformed and implemented overnight.”
To help with the situation, Metric Group has launched a new initiative that will support local authorities and help them meet their charging targets, with minimal disruption and investment. The company is self-financing a multi-million-pound scheme, to cover the upfront costs of installing and servicing electric vehicle charge points, within existing carparks. All while making them safer and more sustainable spaces. In return, a percentage of carparking and tariff profits would be paid to Metric.
Chris, who is an electric vehicle driver, explains: “Carparks are an important and often underused asset for local authorities. Since the pandemic, use of carparks has declined, now we see them averaging around 80% occupancy and that’s expected to fall to 60% over the coming years.
“Our solution improves the use of and dwell time in carparks. By converting 10% of spaces to EV and then adding better security such as barriers, CCTV and good lighting, they become 24/7 parking spots – a safe and reliable option for those who live in flats or terraced houses and are within easy walk of a council carpark, as well as those going about their daily business. Plus, where appropriate, by installing solar canopies we can make these sites self-powered.”
Metric Group’s system could allow a local authority to offer discounted charging to local council taxpayers and even differentiated pricing based on the emissions of vehicles. With a range of AC and DC chargers within its portfolio, Metric will work with councils to choose the options that best meet the demands of constituents – with some providing 20 miles of charge overnight versus 100 miles of charge in under half an hour.
Chris concludes: “We passionately believe that charging your electric vehicle should be as easy as filling it up with petrol or diesel. Our initiative not only promises to implement more charging points, but increase reliability too, with innovations such as embedded diagnostic technology that sends out an alert flagging if and when a unit has stopped working, identifying the fault and deploying an engineer.
“While it’s clear we have a lot to do to get ready for widespread use of electric vehicles, it also presents a fantastic opportunity for local authorities all over the country.”Like this? Share it now!