A terraced street and EV chargepoint

Drivers in terraced houses struggle to charge electric cars [BBC]

If we want to ditch our polluting vehicles and replace them with cleaner, greener electric cars we have a problem: The huge number of homes with no off-street parking.

City streets full of terraced houses present a particular challenge. Research by the RAC Foundation suggests in Nottingham as many as forty per cent of households have no access to a private parking space.

In the search for solutions, councils are offering to dig covered channels across pavements so drivers can charge outside their home. Others are installing fast chargers on street corners.

The government has now approved payments of £185m to local authorities, part of a £381 million Local Electric Vehicle (LEVI) fund to improve infrastructure to charge electric and hybrid vehicles.

A woman crouching down next to a car holding an electric charger

Electric car driver Alison Chilton loves her kerbside chargepoint [BBC]

One beneficiary is teacher Alison Chilton. When she leased her first electric car five years ago charging it at public charge points was inconvenient and pricey. She found the cheapest public network near her cost 59p per kilowatt hour (kWh). By contrast using off-peak electricity at home is 7.5p per kWh.

“It seems a bit unjust that because you haven’t got a driveway, you’ve got to pay four or five times more,” she says.

But now Nottinghamshire County Council has provided a free solution in the form of a shallow covered channel running from the kerb to her own charge point mounted next to her front door. The cable lies flat under the pavement removing any potential trip hazards.

“It’s been a life changer for me,” Alison says. “It means I can stop my car outside my house at any point; it doesn’t matter if there’s no charge left in it. You can’t do that if you have to go somewhere else to charge it.”

Developed by Kerbo charge, the channels usually cost around £1,000 to install but are free as part of the pilot. So far the council has equipped ten households and they are encouraging more drivers to apply.

Other councils are trying to reduce the number of cars competing for parking spaces along narrow streets. In the Darley area of Derby the city council has joined up with hire car company Enterprise to offer local drivers free first year membership of an electric car share club. They also get a voucher to cover mileage on their first trip.

Councillor Carmel Swan and a charge point

Cllr Carmel Swan says reducing traffic can improve neighbourhoods [BBC]

“There is evidence to suggest that a car share club in a particular location can take 20 cars off the road,” says Derby city councillor Carmel Swan. On a terraced street where parking spaces are at a premium that could make a big difference.

The Labour Cabinet member for climate, transport and sustainability says the car share club also offers sceptical drivers the chance to try an electric car before they commit to buy.

A charge point on a city street

New charge points are appearing on street corners in Derby [BBC]

The council is using funding from the Department for Transport to install electric chargers on street corners. It means charging points closer where people live and work.

Residents say traffic is a particular problem in the Darley area, particularly at school pick-up time.

“Parking is a nightmare round here,” one man said. “It’s a bit inconvenient at the moment with all these parking spaces now being taken up by electric cars. Ultimately we should start using bicycles and public transport more. There are other options. We don’t have to rely on cars.”

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