Council sparks growth in use of electric cars

By Surrey and Hants News in Transport

Hampshire County Council is driving forward plans to expand the number of electric vehicle charging points across the county, and replacing its fleet of diesel small vehicles with electrically-powered ones, as part of a £2.7million investment in energy saving technology.

The proposals were highlighted at the council’s headquarters in Winchester, where public authorities from across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight met to discuss the best way to increase use of electric vehicles as part of a wider programme to cut energy costs and carbon emissions.

Cllr Mel Kendal, the council’s executive member for economic development, said: “There are now more than two million electric cars in the world, and in May this year a record 4.4 per cent of new cars sold in the UK were hybrid or electric models.

“However, more work is needed to power a further surge, which is why we’re delighted that so many local partners joined us today to share plans and ideas.

“As a county council, it’s important we show leadership, but recognise we stand a much better chance of succeeding by working together with partner authorities and the private sector.”

After saving £29.9m in energy costs, and cutting carbon emissions by 35.8 per cent, since 2010, the council recently published plans to spend £2.7m on the next phase of its Energy and Carbon Management Programme, which includes:

1) Installation of approximately 40 new electric vehicle charging points at sites to be finalised, in addition to the 14 already owned by the council.

2) Investigating the feasibility of replacing its diesel-powered fleet of 156 small vehicles and 23 staff pool cars with electrically-powered ones on a phased basis.

3) Replacing up to 75 per cent of existing inefficient lights with light emitting diodes in the council’s corporate buildings.

4) Trialling local and bulk battery storage, subject to a positive business case and a viable return on the investment.

Cllr Kendal said: “We all have a desire to reduce carbon emissions to help residents and our environment.

“However, as a publically funded authority, it’s vital that our proposals make economic as well as environmental sense.

“The next phase of our programme is estimated to deliver an annual saving of at least £450,000 per year on a recurring basis, with a return of investment ranging from two to eight years on different elements of the programme.

“This sound and sensible economic planning is crucial if we’re to continue with our impressive cost savings.”

The council and its partners have installed eight rapid-charging points - taking 30 minutes to fully charge an electric car - at the Texaco garage in Charlton Road, Andover, the Civic Way (North) car park in Fareham, the Esso garage in Bridge Road, Farnborough, The Furlong car park on the A31 at Ringwood, the Romsey Rapids leisure centre car park in Romsey, the BP garage on the A40 at Eynsham in Oxfordshire, the Central car park in Newport on the Isle of Wight, and the University of Winchester in Romsey Road, Winchester.

Six fast-charging points - which take three to four hours - have been installed at the Churchill Way car park in Basingstoke, the Queensmead car park in Farnborough, the South Street car park in Gosport, the Festival Hall car park in Petersfield, the Winchester South park and ride in Winchester, and the University of Winchester in Romsey Road, Winchester.