Electric Vehicle Charging – letter to the editor

Cllr Matt McCabe is making the case that Electric Vehicle charging points cannot simply be installed as our current infrastructure could not provide the required electricity capacity. That may be the case BUT when you look at this letter through the lens of the Sustainable Transport Hierarchy it doesn’t look good:


EV charging points *enable and encourage* residents to swap their petrol/diesel cars for electric cars. They prioritise private car ownership. They make congestion worse. What the council should be doing is enabling residents to *give up* their petrol cars and start using shared mobility.

Greater Manchester’s eHubs (https://electrictravel.tfgm.com/ehubs/) offer share eCars and eCargoBikes. Exeter CoCars offers you three different share cars (micro, mid, and large family), with eBike hire at their hubs. One of their hubs with three cars replaces 24 privately owned cars. In Bremen, Germany one share car replaces 15 privately owned cars (similar to New York City).

The council should be boxing clever here and not encouraging and enabling more car ownership.

Don’t make excuses for why you are not installing charging points at every lamp post. Focus on installing eHubs on every street corner where residents can grab an eCar (even eVan!), eCargoBike, eBike, or eScooter. Yes, provide an EV charging point, but only as an afterthought.

Change the message: “You don’t need to own a car to have access to one.”

A petrol Smart car with 100,000km on the clock has a smaller lifetime carbon footprint than an electric car with 100,000km on the clock. You are much better off running your old car into the ground than buying a new electric car. Better still, wait for the council to install an eHub, sell your car, and go car *ownership* free saving a fortune.

Of Pollinators and Placards

An illuminating explanation of a major problem limiting the creation of new electric vehicle (EV) charging points, from my colleague, Councillor Matt McCabe– as published in the Bath Chronicle last month.

Dear Editor

In your article about EV charging, John Leach raises the disappointing lack of charging points across the city of Bath. The problem is the state of our electrical grid. It is old and desperately in need of upgrading. So, why hasn’t it been upgraded in the light of the Climate Emergency? Well, extraordinarily, Western Power Distribution is not allowed to spend money on infrastructure ahead of market demand.

This bizarre rule is set by OFGEM. Instead, WPD have to set out their funding plans for a period of time, which OFGEM has to approve. So, we are coming to the end of an 8 year period where creating capacity for renewables, heat pumps and EV charging…

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  1. I don’t think it’s the case that encouraging people to switch to private electric cars results in more car use. I imagine most people would replace their combustion engine car with an electric one. Usage is unlikely to change significantly.

    However, switching to electric does result in huge reductions in local emissions and this is worth having.

    I’m all for reducing car use in the city, but people own cars for a number of reasons and I doubt car clubs will cut it for most. They’ve been around for a while now and remain niche.

    If everyone who currently drives a combustion engine car could replace it with electric, this would been hugely beneficial.

    • Since the early 90s we’ve seen a doubling of vehicles on our roads to 40m. The IPCC has stated we need to, under a 100% EV model, still reduce road miles driven by 35% and you ignored the carbon footprint of a small petrol car with 100k on the clock is still less than an electric car with similar mileage.

      Significantly good mobility share schemes around the world are demonstrating that one share car replaces 8-15 private cars.

      The reality is that for most people, you don’t need to own an eCcar, you need access to an eCar/eVan/eBike/eCargobike/eScooter/public transport depending on the journey you are doing. The council and particularly West of England Combined Authority’s role must be to facilitate residents of our towns and cities giving up their petrol/diesel cars not replacing them with expensive, massive carbon footprint, electric cars. Private car free cities and towns are possible.

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